June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Cooperative & Experiential Education
14.753.1 - 14.753.10
Integrating co op and classroom learning experiences
Due to the relative absence of intentional design in co-op experiences, there is a perceived lack of consistent quality control by many participating students. Often the benefits of co-op learning cannot be clearly visualized. To communicate the vision that co-op education contributes to student learning, the existence of measurable co-op learning outcomes is necessary. Once the learning outcomes are known, then educational activities to produce these learning outcomes must be designed and implemented in the worksites. To foster deep learning in students, the learning experienced in co-op must be linked with educational activities in the classroom. While currently anecdotal evidence is often used for co-op’s benefits, true scientific evidence that knowledge is constructed in a superior fashion when students engage in both co-op and classroom learning is necessary to prove that co-op is an indispensable and complimentary component of engineering education. This paper will outline a pilot study based upon one learning outcome selected through student assessment. A concept will be presented to utilize the pilot study results to design a process for integration of co-op learning with classroom learning to increase student success.
Each discipline has a skill set that one must acquire in order to become an expert in that field. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)1, for example, has tried to institute learning outcomes for accreditation which will instill the set of skills for successful engineers. Many of these skills are not technical but are considered “soft” or “interpersonal” skills. Unfortunately, though, engineering graduates have been documented to have deficiencies for some outcomes, especially those pertaining to the “soft” skills, such as effective communication and multidisciplinary teamwork2 ; however, Davis et. al.3 recently developed an expert profile that is broadly applicable to all engineering disciplines, and which El-Sayed4 used to determine how co op education can address the deficiencies apparent in engineering education.
This expert profile outlines the characteristics that, once mastered, would make an engineer deemed an “expert” in his profession. This set of behaviors is broader than the ABET educational outcomes and lists the outcomes in terms of roles with corresponding observable actions for each role. The roles of Analyst, Problem Solver, Designer, Communicator, Collaborator, Self-Grower and Practitioner can be mapped to the ABET learning outcomes, but the profile by Davis et. al. goes farther by including the roles of “Leader,” “Achiever” and “Researcher,” as well. El-Sayed4 has shown that all of these behaviors are enhanced through co-op experiences.
El-Sayed, J., & Stodola, D. (2009, June), Integrating Co Op And Classroom Learning Experiences Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5197
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