New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
This research paper will present findings from a study of the “impact trajectories” (contributions, influences, challenges, successes) of pioneers in the field of engineering education. For the purposes of this project, “engineering education pioneers” are defined as those who: 1) are/were active (through research, practice, and/or service) in the area of engineering education; and 2) are recognized by members of the engineering education community as significant contributors to or shapers of the field of engineering education. The study focused on pioneers who were near retirement or had already retired. Understanding the nature of the evolving field of engineering education, as well as building and sustaining a community of scholars doing this work, has recently been the focus of multiple studies and faculty professional development efforts. Building upon this work, the present study seeks to explore in greater depth the nature of the pioneers’ perceived contributions and impacts in engineering education, and also understand how those impacts have come about. In order to address these goals, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 47 individuals identified as engineering education pioneers. Interview transcripts were transcribed, coded, and analyzed qualitatively in order to understand the types of contributions to or impacts on the field that the pioneers felt they had made so far during their careers. This analysis revealed that the large majority of responses referred to contributions or impacts related to either supporting and building engineering education communities, or defining the field of engineering education research. The characteristics of these reported contributions and impacts will be illustrated in detail in the paper, and lessons learned regarding strategies for making impact will be discussed. Given the emergence of community as a central theme, the paper will frame these findings in terms of communities of practice, discussing how the pioneers’ accounts of contributions and impacts relate to Lave and Wenger’s concepts of domain, community, and practice. These findings are of interest because they highlight the collaborative nature of this work and the culture of the community. They also point to the evolution of the field over the past few decades. We anticipate that these findings will help current and future engineering education scholars better understand how and why supporting the community is important. Also, insights into why the field has evolved in the way it has, through the deliberate work of many people, will be informative for scholars who will be carrying the field forward.
Allendoerfer, C., & Yasuhara, K., & Turns, J. A., & Atman, C. J. (2016, June), Making an Impact on Engineering Education Communities: Learning from the Past and Looking Forward Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25655
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