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Making the Most of Virtual Community Engagement for International Projects During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Community-Engaged Engineering Education Challenges and Opportunities in Light of COVID-19 Paper Presentations 1

Tagged Divisions

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society, Community Engagement Division, and Equity, Culture & Social Justice in Education

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37477

Download Count

37

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Paper Authors

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Angelina Nicole Rivera Colorado School of Mines

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Jessica Mary Smith Colorado School of Mines

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Jessica M. Smith is Associate Professor in the Engineering, Design & Society Division at the Colorado School of Mines and Director of Humanitarian Engineering Graduate Programs. Her research and teaching bring anthropological perspectives to bear on questions of social responsibility and engineering. In 2016 the National Academy of Engineering recognized her Corporate Social Responsibility course as a national exemplar in teaching engineering ethics. Her book Extracting Accountability: Engineers and Corporate Social Responsibility will be published by The MIT Press in 2021. She is also the co-editor of Energy and Ethics? (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019) and the author of Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West (Rutgers University Press, 2014). She regularly publishes in peer-reviewed journals in anthropology, science and technology studies, engineering studies, and engineering education. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the British Academy.

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Juan C. Lucena Colorado School of Mines

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Juan Lucena is Professor and Director of Humanitarian Engineering Undergraduate Programs at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). Juan obtained a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech and a MS in STS and BS in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). His books include Defending the Nation: U.S. Policymaking to Create Scientists and Engineers from Sputnik to the ‘War Against Terrorism’ (University Press of America, 2005), Engineering and Sustainable Community Development (Morgan &Claypool, 2010), and Engineering Education for Social Justice: Critical Explorations and Opportunities (Springer, 2013).

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Robin Bullock Colorado School of Mines

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Thomas J. Phelan United States Air Force Academy

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Dr. Phelan is an associate professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.

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Kathleen M. Smits The University of Texas at Arlington Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8319-0940

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Abstract

The [blinded] is a multi-country, interinstitutional, and interdisciplinary global research collaboration whose goal is to co-design socially responsible and sustainable gold mining practices with communities, engineers, and social scientists. A key component of this work is engineering education research that investigates how situated learning enhances undergraduate students’ global sociotechnical competency, especially as it relates to their ability to define and solve problems with people from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and life experiences. Situated learning refers to how students learn under different a) configurations of social relations (e.g., graduate/undergraduate; expert/non-expert; US/non-US students, etc.); b) pedagogical strategies for engineering problem definition and solution (e.g., remote vs. in-person; in-class vs. in-field); and c) different geographical contexts (e.g., in the US vs. in Colombia) affect faculty and student learning. Global sociotechnical competency refers to having the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to define and solve engineering problems as socio-technical in different international settings. Knowledge is understanding how engineering problems are always socio-technical and shaped by the historical, cultural, economic, and physical dimensions of a place. Skills are learning to define and solve problems with perspectives different than their own. Attitudes are the desires to continue engaging other expert and non-expert perspectives, working abroad, and serving communities after graduation.

In 2019 a diverse group of [blinded] engineering undergraduate students participated in a two-week field session in Colombia, where they visited mine sites and processing facilities, in addition to the partner university in Colombia. In 2020, however, the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic made international fieldwork impossible. This paper will describe how we developed and executed a meaningful distance-based fieldwork experience that maintained direct engagement with international students and community members. We will offer a preliminary assessment of these methods’ efficacy for developing global sociotechnical competency through remote community engagement and learning. In particular, we will compare the situated learning of the 2019 (in the field) and the 2020 (virtual) student participants as they differently identified stakeholders for engineering projects and changed their understanding of mining as a sociotechnical process as a result of the summer session.

Rivera, A. N., & Smith, J. M., & Lucena, J. C., & Bullock, R., & Phelan, T. J., & Smits, K. M. (2021, July), Making the Most of Virtual Community Engagement for International Projects During the COVID-19 Pandemic Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37477

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