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Laying the Foundation for Education 4.0: Access, Value and Accountability

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Technological and Engineering Literacy - Philosophy of Engineering Division Technical Session 3

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Paper Authors

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Jennifer Karlin Minnesota State University, Mankato

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L. James Minnesota State University, Mankato


Lauren Singelmann North Dakota State University

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Lauren Singelmann earned her Ph.D. from North Dakota State University in Electrical and Computer Engineering and STEM Education in 2022. She is a faculty member for Iron Range Engineering through Minnesota State University, Mankato, and she supports instruction of Innovation-Based Learning courses at multiple institutions. Her research interests include learning analytics, experiential learning, and equitable grading and assessment.

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Dan Ewert

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The complexity of the global problems engineers are working to solve has long been discussed in both engineering and engineering education circles. The Grand Challenges for Engineering are grand because of the complexity of the challenges. While the challenges stand over a decade later, the speed at which the terms in which they are described, the shift from Industry 3.0 to Industry 4.0, has been slow. As the world becomes more deeply connected, as the internet of things becomes more commonplace in all parts of our lives, as technologies like machine learning and cyber physical systems become accessible to even small businesses, the potential solutions to the current and future grand challenges change in ways we cannot yet predict and will require language to describe what we have not yet invented. Engineering education is living in a similar period of tumult. Many of the engineering tools and methods we have been relying on and teaching are of limited use in the Industry 4.0 and 5.0 worlds. Over the past few years, a sprinkling of scholarship has begun to define Engineering Education 4.0 in terms of teaching Industry 4.0 concepts and/or as pedagogical techniques such as video-based internet accessible instruction and collaborative virtual learning environments. This paper advances engineering education through laying out a a series of questions of what Engineering Education 4.0 means beyond a bundle of tools. This foundation includes the themes of access, value, and accountability. Access considers how Engineering Education 4.0 has the potential to increase equitable access to engineering education at all levels and varieties, including formal education, continuous lifelong learning, and informal learning within society. Value describes the benefits to the student, the learning environment (including the teacher), the institution, and society from the activities and results of engineering education. Value is generated through every course or set of micro-credentials in Engineering Education 4.0 and is explicitly articulated as part of the learning process. Accountability is the need at all units of analysis to demonstrate appropriate stewardship of resources to achieve the access and value promise of Engineering Education 4.0. Accountability is part of the credentialing process as well as part of the faculty and institutional evaluation systems. These three foundations will form the core of a paradigm that is intended to begin a scholarly dialogue to define Engineering Education 4.0.

Karlin, J., & James, L., & Singelmann, L., & Ewert, D. (2022, August), Laying the Foundation for Education 4.0: Access, Value and Accountability Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41436

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