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Mapping the Study of Blended Learning in Engineering Education

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

General Technical Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1133.1 - 26.1133.15



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Paper Authors


Michael Geoffrey Brown University of Michigan

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Michael Brown is a doctoral candidate in the Center for the Study of Higher and Post-Secondary Education at the University of Michigan.

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Mapping the study of blended learning in engineering education In the last decade, an increasing number of higher education institutions areturning to models of course delivery that combine the efficiency of Internet-enabledcommunication and the socialization benefits of face to face instruction; what theliterature would term blended learning. Many engineering educators have embracedblended learning as a way to flip the classroom. For example, a faculty member provideslecture content through streaming video, allowing the instructor to spend in class time onstudent-centered instruction. A meta-analysis of studies on undergraduate studentlearning with technology reported that, on average, students in blended courses performbest when compared to traditional residential instruction. Blended models are sopervasive that academic developers have started to characterize blending as the ‘newtraditional’ of course delivery. Given the potential for blended learning to become awidespread practice in engineering education, developing an understanding of the state ofthe field could serve to identify if a coherent literature on the practice has begun toemerge, as well as what forces—disciplinary, methodological, sociocultural—might beshaping the literature. A map of the field of blended learning in engineering educationcould identify future directions for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. To map the field, three approaches are employed. First, an author paper citationnetwork is developed using articles on empirical studies of blended learning inengineering education (n=397) from relevant research databases through which the mostfrequently cited works as well as the core publications venues (journals and conferenceproceedings) on the topic are identified. Next, bibliographic coupling is used to identifynetworks that have shared foundational knowledge—in the form of jointly cited works—in common. Finally, a journal-seeding network is developed using the flagshippublication in the field, Computers and Education, to determine the publication venuesthrough which knowledge is brokered. This mapping of the landscape of knowledgesharing and production about blended learning in engineering education helps identifyhow the literature on the practice has evolved. To that end, I propose the followingresearch questions: a. What are the most commonly cited articles in the literature on blended learning in engineering education? b. What network of publication venues forms the basis of the discourse on blended learning in engineering education? c. To what extant are individuals within the multiple disciplines that study blended learning in engineering education forming a cohesive multidisciplinary network? Initial results suggest that a cohesive multi-disciplinary network of knowledge isemerging. However, the most cited articles and the publication venues that serve asknowledge brokers are substantially different from those identified by researcherslooking at the study of blended learning across higher education, suggesting that there arefoundational knowledge(s) that are specific to blended learning in engineering education.When disciplinary fractures emerge, they are composed of small networks focused oneither specific disciplinary audiences (Public Health) or a specific instructional task(Using simulation). Wankat (2011) argued that within engineering education research,disciplinary silos prevent cross-fertilization of findings and innovations. A similar patternappears to be emerging in blended learning in engineering education, which couldpotentially limit the development of the practice. My full paper will offer a discussion ofthe implications of these findings, as well as analysis of the results for each researchquestion including a discussion of the changing multi-disciplinary network over time.Wankat, P. C. (2011). Guest editorial: Cross-fertilization of engineering education research and development. IEEE Transactions on Education, 54(4), 521–522. Appendix A: Mapping the discourse communities for the study of blended learning in Engineering EducationFig 1. Bibliographic Coupling Fig 2. Discourse Community: Network (whole) Multidisciplinary network Figure 3. Emergence of the multi-disciplinary network on blended learning in engineering education over time. Figure 2 Multidisciplinary Network 2000-2004 2005-2009 2010-2014

Brown, M. G. (2015, June), Mapping the Study of Blended Learning in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24470

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