June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
The Wright State Model (WSM) for Engineering Mathematics Education is a meaningful shift from the traditional required engineering calculus sequence as it offers a one-semester laboratory-based immersion into the ways mathematical concepts—including trigonometry, vectors, derivatives, integrals, and differential equations—are actually used by engineers. As administrators and instructors of the WSM course pilot at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU), we are interested in understanding and analyzing the change processes wherein the WSM becomes legitimized and integrated into the official course pathways of our large public engineering college.
At CU, the status of the WSM pilot class changed from optional in Year 1 to mandatory in Year 2 for all students entering the engineering college at a Pre-Calculus level. This change from optional to mandatory resulted in a significant increase to the size of the class and a fundamental change in the ways students were informed of and enrolled in the class. In this paper, we identify the implicit assumptions and narratives invoked to justify this change in the course status, and identify the various ways our story of change both aligns and mismatches with the models of change as discussed in the engineering education literature. Data sources including student academic performance metrics, course evaluation questionnaires, and pre-/post Survey results are combined with qualitative data from individual student interviews to inform our interpretation of how the course policy changes were initially motivated, advocated for, and decided upon, as well as consequences to student learning and motivation in the course from Year 1 to Year 2. Overall we find resonance across several change models that enables hindsight interpretation of the course as a story of institutional change as lived through students, instructors, and administrators, and as seen through curriculum, structures, and policies. Lessons learned from this story will assist decision-making for Year 3 of the pilot course, while also offering insights into power dynamics and consequences of policy decisions for engineering educators interested in effecting meaningful and long lasting change within any institution.
Tsai, J. Y., & Myers, B. A. (2019, June), Mandatory but not Required: Examining Change in the Year Two Implementation of a Novel Engineering Mathematics Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33082
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