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Many Hands on the Elephant: How a Transdisciplinary Team Assesses an Integrative Course

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Assessment and Research Tools

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30787

Download Count

38

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Paper Authors

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David DiBiasio Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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David DiBiasio is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Department Head of ChE at WPI. He received his ChE degrees from Purdue University, worked for the DuPont Co, and has been at WPI since 1980. His current interests are in educational research: the process of student learning, international engineering education, and educational assessment. Collaboration with two colleagues resulted in being awarded the 2001 William Corcoran Award from Chemical Engineering Education. He served as 2004 chair of the ASEE ChE Division, has served as an ABET program evaluator and on the AIChE/ABET Education & Accreditation Committee. He has also served as Assessment Coordinator in WPI’s Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and as Director of WPI’s Washington DC Project Center. He was secretary/treasurer of the new Education Division of AIChE. In 2009 he was awarded the rank of Fellow in the ASEE, and in 2013 was awarded the rank of Fellow in AIChE.

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Kristin Boudreau Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Kristin Boudreau is Paris Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she also serves as Head of the Department of Humanities and Arts. Her training is in nineteenth-century literature, but for the past 9 years she has taught engineering ethics, first-year engineering courses, and humanities for engineers. She has also worked with students and colleagues to develop role-playing games teaching engineering within its complex humanistic context.

NOTE: this paper has co-authors.

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Leslie Dodson Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Leslie Dodson is a Faculty Teaching Fellow in Undergraduate Studies at WPI. She received her PhD from the University of Colorado-Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science, ATLAS Institute. Her current research interests focus on the intersections of international development, human-centered design and participatory community development. Specifically, Leslie leads research efforts on the world's largest fog water harvesting system in rural, Berber communities in southwest Morocco. She also has expertise in alternative pedagogical methods such as immersive, embodied and engaged learning. Leslie is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Colorado-Boulder Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. Prior to her work in academia, she was an international correspondent and producer for CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, NHK-Tokyo and Reuters Financial Television covering the global financial markets, environmental issues and international relations.

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Paula Quinn Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Through her role as Associate Director for the Center for Project-Based Learning at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Paula Quinn works to improve student learning in higher education by supporting faculty and staff at WPI and at other institutions to advance work on project-based learning. She believes project-based learning holds significant potential for increasing the diversity of students who succeed in college and who persist in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and she views her work with the Center as contributing to education reform from the inside out. She holds an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Clark University and a B.A. in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Her background includes working in the field of education evaluation, where she focused primarily on the areas of project-based learning; STEM; pre-literacy and literacy; student life; learning communities; and professional development. She has worked on projects whose funding sources have included the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education.

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John Bergendahl Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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John Bergendahl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has six years experience as a practicing engineer in industry, and holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.S. in environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering; all from the University of Connecticut. His recent research efforts are primarily directed at investigating novel treatment methods for emerging contaminants, and the development of systems and methods to sustainably treat water and wastewater.

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John M. Sullivan Jr Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Professor John Sullivan joined WPI in 1987. He has had continuous external research funding from 1988 thru 2013. He has graduated (and supported) more than 75 MS and PhD graduate students. He has served as the ME Department Head and in 2012 was elected Secretary of the Faculty through 2015. Prof. Sullivan has always maintained a full teaching load. He strongly supports the WPI project-based undergraduate philosophy.

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Glenn R. Gaudette Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Glenn R. Gaudette, PhD, is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His research, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, aims to develop a treatment for the millions of Americans suffering from myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular diseases. In May of 2012, he co-founded a company based on some of the pioneering technology developed in his laboratory. Prof. Gaudette also teaches biomedical engineering design and innovation, biomechanics and physiology. He promotes the development of the entrepreneurial mindset in his students through support provided by the Kern Family Foundation.

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Curtis Abel Worcester Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4061-5467

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Laura A. Robinson Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Sarah Wodin-Schwartz Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Dr. Wodin-Schwartz joined WPI in August 2015. She is passionate about teaching core engineering and critical thinking skills that apply to application-driven problem-solving. She is especially interested in engineering design and product development. She is excited to work with students to help them understand not only the technical skills required of them as engineers but also the social, environmental, and physical implications of implementing technical engineering solutions.

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Abstract

This paper, for the Evidence-based Practice category of the ERM division of ASEE, describes our efforts to assess a transdisciplinary course that brings together the humanities and engineering —specifically history, ethics, theatre, writing and literature with fluid mechanics, material properties, statics, stress and engineering design. We briefly describe this two-course, first-year curriculum that combines role-playing with engineering design and the engineering concepts necessary to develop culturally appropriate, human-centered waste management systems. The course breaks new ground in transdisciplinary teaching by employing faculty from engineering, the humanities, the social sciences and business who have worked collaboratively to develop the syllabus and who commit to being present at most class meetings. Because of this deep integration, our challenge was to design and implement an assessment system that would do justice to the different disciplinary content, including integrated content, with their diverse approaches to assessment —and to capture, as well, student ability to transfer and integrate knowledge across domains. This paper describes our assessment methods and explores the difficult collaborative process we undertook to design these methods.

DiBiasio, D., & Boudreau, K., & Dodson, L., & Quinn, P., & Bergendahl, J., & Sullivan, J. M., & Gaudette, G. R., & Abel, C., & Robinson, L. A., & Wodin-Schwartz, S. (2018, June), Many Hands on the Elephant: How a Transdisciplinary Team Assesses an Integrative Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30787

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015