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Lessons Learned from the NSF IGERT Program: Cultivating Student Motivation in the Interdisciplinary and International Contexts

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Factors Influencing Curriculum Development: International Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

International

Page Count

22

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34912

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34912

Download Count

127

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Paper Authors

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Congying Wang Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7121-9961

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Congying Wang is a doctoral candidate in the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue University. Her research interests include the applications of environmental-friendly lead-free Sn coatings in electronics, the recycling of electronic wastes as part of the circular economy, and the design of interdisciplinary and intercultural curricula on global sustainability .

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Caitlyn M. Clarkson Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9689-0842

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Caitlyn Clarkson is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University in Materials Engineering and will be graduating in May 2020. Her research is in polymer nanocomposite processing and characterization. She is a fellow in an NSF-funded integrative graduate education and research traineeship (IGERT) program.

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Joseph Andler Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9416-1977

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Joseph (Joe) Andler is a Ph.D. candidate in materials engineering at Purdue University. Here, he is co-advised by Drs. Carol Handwerker in Materials Engineering and Rakesh Agrawal in the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. His research has a dual focus of 1. developing novel chalcogenide semiconductors for application in solution-processed photovoltaics and 2. completing environmental analyses including life cycle assessments and leaching procedures on these novel systems to identify areas of improvement in the context of environmental performance. Joe was a Ross fellow upon entering Purdue and later became an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) fellow supported by the National Science Foundation. He received his B.S. in physics from Marietta College in 2015.

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Matthew Korey Purdue University

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Matthew Korey received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Ohio State University (2011) where he studied the toxicity of various chemical compounds on hepatocytic cells. Matthew then joined the research groups of Dr. Jeffrey Youngblood and Dr. John Howarter at Purdue University in 2015 where he specialized in building a more robust understanding of sustainability in plastics through considering the full lifecycle of a product. For his work at Purdue, Matthew was awarded the NSF IGERT Fellowship (2016) and the NSF GRFP Fellowship (2017-2020). Matthew will receive his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering in May of 2020.

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Kali D. Frost Purdue University

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Melissa S. Reeves Tuskegee University

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Melissa S. Reeves received her B.S. in chemistry at University of Florida and her Ph.D. in chemistry at Indiana University at Bloomington. She is an associate professor of chemistry at Tuskegee University where she specializes in physical chemistry and computational chemistry. Her research interests have ranged from calculating transition states of small molecule reactions in solution to molecular dynamics of polymers. She has worked on two American Chemical Society Physical Chemistry Exam Committees and is an active participant in the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning Physical Chemistry Laboratory (POGIL-PCL) community.

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Carol A. Handwerker Purdue University

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Carol Handwerker is the Reinhardt Schuhmann, Jr. Professor of Materials Engineering at Purdue University.

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Abstract

Engineering curricula have begun to provide opportunities for inclusive and diverse learning. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program: Global Traineeship in Sustainable Electronics” is an example of one such initiative. The program brought together s an interdisciplinary group of students to study the environmental, economic, and societal aspects of the global electronics lifecycle. The IGERT was designed as a two-year training program with a two-week international trip to India as a key event in the educational experience with an international experience trip in India. There were three cohorts altogether, but the dynamics of each group were substantially different. In the final IGERT cohort, for instance, the students demonstrated a notably high degree of self-motivation and group cohesion. This third cohort actively sought additional experiences outside the original planned courses and trips.

Assuming the final IGERT cohort exhibited a higher level of motivation, the aim of this work is to glean insight into what and how specific curriculum design may promote the learning experiences in which students take initiative beyond the scope of the program, especially in interdisciplinary fields.

We identified four factors that might influence the experiential learning within a framework incorporating the self-determination theory (SDT) and the expectancyvalue model: the factors considered are value, relatedness, competence, and autonomy. Utilizing a non-experimental approach, we surveyed the last cohort to identify when and why they felt or failed to feel motivated during the program and what curriculum modules were most valuable for their learning experiences.

We found that all four factors (value, relatedness, competence, and autonomy) grew throughout the program. In particular, the international workshop in India marks the point when students started to see shared values with their peers; the self-organized seminar course marks the point when students developed the feeling of autonomy. The most valuable aspects of the program were ranked to be international field trips, peers, and team projects. For the latter two aspects, defined in this work as the group dynamic, the most important factors for building a sense of community are group pro-activity, cohesiveness, and attitude.

Wang, C., & Clarkson, C. M., & Andler, J., & Korey, M., & Frost, K. D., & Reeves, M. S., & Handwerker, C. A. (2020, June), Lessons Learned from the NSF IGERT Program: Cultivating Student Motivation in the Interdisciplinary and International Contexts Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34912

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