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Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes Acquired through Engineering Student Experiences Abroad

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Study Abroad, International Experience, Exchange Programs and Student Retention

Tagged Division

International

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

23.840.1 - 23.840.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19854

Download Count

83

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Paper Authors

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Keilin Tarum Deahl University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Keilin Deahl is a graduate student in Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her undergraduate degree in General Engineering at Illinois with a concentration in Sustainable Development. Deahl is interested in international experiences in engineering and how to better integrate project-based learning into the engineering classroom.

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Eileen Walz University of Illinois

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Eileen Walz is working on her Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. She received her bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering but is now pursuing a combination of interests related to education enrichment programs for international development, creativity, and community engagement.

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Russell Korte University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Russell
 Korte is an assistant professor in Human Resource Development and a fellow with the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research investigates how engineering students navigate their educational experiences and how engineering graduates transition into the workplace. He is especially interested in the social and political systems that drive learning and performance in organizations. Additional research interests include theory, philosophy, social science, workplace learning and performance, socialization, professional education, and organization studies.

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Valeri Werpetinski University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Valeri Werpetinski is a lecturer and co-director of Learning in Community (LINC), an interdisciplinary, inquiry-guided service-learning program in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to this role, she worked as a specialist in Education in instructional development in the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Illinois and served as the director of Curriculum and Service-Learning for the Social Entrepreneurship Institute in the College of Business. She has taught service-learning courses in various disciplines and has collaborated on, and traveled abroad with students participating in, international service-learning projects in engineering. Her professional and research interests are in (international) service-learning, social entrepreneurship, humanitarian engineering, community-engaged scholarship, instructor training and professional development, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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Laura D Hahn University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Laura Hahn holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Second Language Acquisition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was affiliated with the Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education and the Center for Teaching Excellence from 1999 to 2010; she is currently the director of the Intensive English Institute, and holds a zero%-time appointment in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. She is involved in initiatives related to intercultural teaching and learning experiences for faculty and students at Illinois.

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Judith A Sunderman University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Judith Sunderman focuses on program and curriculum development, research, and evaluation in education. Her research focus and area of expertise is the development of sustainable transformative learning environments and curricular change. She has worked with program development in a variety of disciplines including: Engineering, Business, Honors Prohgramming, Animal Sciences, Human Resource Development, and Education.

Dr. Sunderman has 20 years experience working in higher education using human development theory to inform program development and evaluation in the fields of experiential education, individualized learning paradigms, mentoring and unique structures for curricular innovation.

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J. Bruce Elliott- Litchfield University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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J. Bruce Elliott-Litchfield is a professor and assistant dean, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. He directs the Illinois Engineering First-year Experience, the Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education, and the Learning in Community service-learning program. He teaches creativity enhancement and conducts funded research in creativity and service learning. He has a B.S. (1978) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an M.S. (1984) and Ph.D. (1986) in Food and Biochemical Engineering/Agricultural Engineering from Purdue University. He worked as a project and process engineer with General Foods in California, Delaware, and Indiana from 1978-82. He has been a member of the faculty at Illinois since 1986.

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Abstract

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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