June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Community Engagement Division
23.795.1 - 23.795.19
Interactive Session: Measuring the Impact of Connection to Community The value of community engagement in engineering learning is becoming more apparent. The number of service learning, engineering without borders, international experiences, and other community engagement programs is increasing, while the impact of such programs broadens from local communities to international experiences. This raises questions about how we assess the value of these programs for our students. This special session and accompanying resource paper will include presentations about methods used in research to assess the impact and importance of community and social interaction for engineering students. Information about quantitative, qualitative and mixed-‐methods approaches for assessing social capital, belonging, and psychological sense of community as well as the relationship between these factors and student engagement in academic work will be presented. Researchers from two separate studies will present methodologies and results from their past work and support the movement of their foundational research in academic engineering experience to programs that engage directly with the broader social community. Study 1: Research on the impact of connections to community has shown the value of these connections to student participation in their academic programs, through qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Across a range of institution types, family is the community to which students feel most connected. More importantly, students are often strategic about how they spend their limited free time in order to fulfill the basic human need of belonging in the context of strenuous academic programs. This research has shown that participation is linked with stronger engagement in academic pursuits, suggesting that organized community activities directly associated with engineering programs may support fulfilling belong, esteem and safety needs of students. Study 2: Engineering students’ development and usage of social capital can be influential on their decisions to select engineering as a college major and persist at the undergraduate level. The communities (e.g. family, school personnel, friends) to which students have access and the degree to which they are integrated into these communities can have differential impact on the resources available to them related to pursuing engineering. The ways in which students develop social capital and the degree to which they activate resources during their undergraduate experience are also influenced by their strength of ties with related communities. The paper associated with this interactive, full length session will include background information supporting the importance of community engagement, information about methods and research instruments, potential challenges with institutional review boards, result highlights of the research studies and suggested assessment resources. In the interactive session, 40 minutes will be allocated for overviews of methods, presentations of results and discussion of the impact of social capital and community connections for engineering students. The remaining 35 minutes will be used for interaction, brainstorming and discussion supporting rigorous evaluation of community engagement. Participants will be provided with access to research instruments with suggestions for implementation and analysis. Discussion time will be used to discuss best approaches, to develop research questions that effectively assess the impact of community engagement on student experiences and to brainstorm methodologies that will address these questions. Presenters will include researchers from both studies.
Bates, R. A., & Martin, J. P., & Wilson, D., & Plett, M., & Smith, T. F. (2013, June), Interactive Session: Measuring the Impact of Connection to Community Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19809
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