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Making the Most of Site Visits

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

The D/M/A of CE

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.884.1 - 23.884.14



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Paper Authors


Lindsey Anne Nelson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Lindsey Nelson is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her work centers upon helping engineering students connect meaningfully with global problems. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University and her M.A. in Poverty and Development from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Her research interests include engineering design for poverty alleviation, sustainable design, the public’s understanding of engineering, poverty mitigation, student-centered engineering curricula, global participation, engineering design methodologies, real-world prototyping activities, and material culture. Her teaching interests include engineering design, authentic assessment, student advising, and K-12 outreach. Nelson has worked with elementary, middle school, high school, and undergraduate students in formal and informal settings. She strives to develop professionally as a teacher, implementing best practices informed by rigorous research.

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Partnering Effectively with Community OrganizationsAbstractIn order to engage communities, engineering educators must build networks with diversecommunity organizations. These community organizations primarily act as clients for studentdesign teams. Engineering students are expected to treat clients with respect while developingsolutions that solve a real problem found in the community organization. However, engineeringstudents might not view people within the community organization as crucial stakeholders whohave valuable information. The purpose of this paper is to explore how engineering students seekinformation during site visits to community partners.This paper analyzes students in a simulation activity to observe how students interact withdifferent kinds of stakeholders present in a community organization. Students attended aworkshop organized around a simulated site visit to a university library. The instructor chose touse a university library as a simulated community partner because diverse stakeholder groupslikely encounter different problems. Moreover, student teams may unintentionally overlookseveral stakeholder groups, such as members of the general public and work-study studentsworking in the library.The researcher collected data using educational assignments. During the 30-minute site visit,student teams identified potential design problems. Student teams developed their informationseeking strategy, used a graphic organizer to describe design problems, participated inparticipatory concept map exercises, and wrote reflections. The instructor led a reflectiveexercise that challenged students to think about what kinds of stakeholders were consulted, whatproblems were identified, and the relationship between consulting with stakeholders andidentifying problems. Additionally, students were encouraged to reflect on how their ownexperience with the university library influenced how they approached the problem-finding task.Analysis of the data is ongoing.

Nelson, L. A. (2013, June), Making the Most of Site Visits Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22269

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