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Instructors Playing the Role of Developer and Implementer: Impacts on Material Development

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Works in Progress: Faculty Perspectives and Training

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Grace Panther Oregon State University

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Grace Panther is a doctoral student conducting research in engineering education. She has experience conducting workshops at engineering education conferences and is currently a guest editor for a special issue of European Journal of Engineering Education on inclusive learning environments. Her research includes material development, faculty discourses on gender, and defining knowledge domains of students and engineers.

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Devlin Montfort Oregon State University

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Dr. Montfort is an Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University

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Shane A. Brown P.E. Oregon State University Orcid 16x16

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Shane Brown is an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. His research interests include conceptual change and situated cognition. He received the NSF CAREER award in 2010 and is working on a study to characterize practicing engineers’ understandings of core engineering concepts.

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This work-in-progress reports on the first year and a half of data collection within a three-year project. The research is concentrated on gaining a better understanding of the “Implementation Gap.” The implementation gap lies between the abundance of research-based innovations and their lack of wide-spread use in classrooms. Though previous research has shown that instructors are typically aware of innovations, they rarely apply them in their classrooms. One frequent approach to better understanding the implementation gap is to investigate and describe the differences between implementers and developers. Because many implementers are themselves developers and vice-versa, we seek to compare individuals in these different roles. One step in this process is to identify the beliefs and attitudes of instructors in their role as a developer and to see how this changes over the span of several workshops.

Material development occurred during two different workshops which took place during the summers of 2014 and 2015. Many of the workshop participants from 2014 returned for the 2015 workshop. These workshops were audio- and video-recorded. Transcripts of the workshops were analyzed using the constant comparative method and the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM). Developer statements were characterized in terms of the underlying attitudes and beliefs they revealed about the newly developed curricular materials. This categorization allowed us to identify a Stage of Concern relevant to each statement. Previous research in CBAM has established that characteristic concerns coincide with increased use of an educational innovation. Identifying the concerns of our participants as they develop curricular materials will therefore allow for meaningful comparison between the two workshops and later comparison to the implementation data.

It was found that most of the concerns cited during the first workshop (2014) fell within Consequence concerns, one of the higher stages of the model that places emphasis on the innovation’s impact on students. When looking at concerns during the second workshop (2015), fewer Consequence concerns were seen in comparison to the previous year. Instead, a greater focus was placed on lower staged concerns, especially Management concerns.

The implementation gap has often been framed as a difference in goals and objectives between two unique groups of people. Our findings could be significant as they show a shift in concerns from the same group of instructors across two workshops. Though further research needs to be conducted, re-framing the implementation gap as a situational difference could shed new light on the issue of adoption within engineering education.

Panther, G., & Montfort, D., & Brown, S. A. (2016, June), Instructors Playing the Role of Developer and Implementer: Impacts on Material Development Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25748

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