June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.840.1 - 23.840.19
Articulating Skills Learned Through Engineering Student Experiences AbroadInternational engineering experiences facilitate the development of essential skills forstudents. This paper identifies key skill sets that students acquire while working in aninternational context, as learned through interviews with university students whoparticipated in international service projects in developing regions. These experiencespresented a unique learning environment where students were tasked with developing andimplementing a holistic engineering project.This work is based on a study using participatory action research design andmethods. This design involves participants and researchers in a collaborative process toset the research agenda, collect and analyze the data, and develop the findings intoactionable curricular strategies.During interviews participants distinguished these experiences as unique from thetraditional engineering curriculum for a number of reasons. These projects requiredevaluation of economic, environmental, social, and political ramifications as well as long-term sustainability. While in the field, students came to realize the need to embraceambiguity and accommodate local conditions on account of the variety of engineeringand socio-cultural challenges they encounter. Communication also presented a challengeas students worked across language barriers and across varying levels of technicalknowledge.The theoretical framework for this study is grounded in situational and experientiallearning theories, which speaks to the fact that students enrich their knowledge throughdirect experiences. Our research indicates that there is an iterative, sequential learningprocess involved in mastering the ability to engineer effectively across cultures. Whenstudents first become involved in international work they must develop more basic skills,such as recognizing communication boundaries and the physical limitations of design inremote or underdeveloped environments. After more in-depth participation, studentsbegan to recognize and address more complex dimensions of international work. Theresults of this study describe the value of such international experiences for enriching thedevelopment of engineering students and provide insights for developing strongereducation experiences and curricula in domestic programs.
Deahl, K. T., & Walz, E., & Korte, R., & Werpetinski, V., & Hahn, L. D., & Sunderman, J. A., & Elliott- Litchfield, J. B. (2013, June), Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes Acquired through Engineering Student Experiences Abroad Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19854
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