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Measuring Change in Students’ Development of Global Competency in Two Global Engineering Courses

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 6: Monitoring, Evaluating and Research

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Paper Authors


Nicholas Dang Purdue Engineering Education

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Nicholas Dang is a graduate student of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests are misconceptions and difficult concept learning, particularly in the topic areas covered by mechanical engineering.

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Kirsten Davis Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Kirsten Davis is an assistant professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research explores the intentional design and assessment of global engineering programs, student development through experiential learning, and approaches for teaching and assessing systems thinking skills. Kirsten holds a B.S. in Engineering & Management from Clarkson University and an M.A.Ed. in Higher Education, M.S. in Systems Engineering, and Ph.D. in Engineering Education, all from Virginia Tech.

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Brent Jesiek Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is a Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and practice. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Engineering Education (JIEE) and Director of the National Institute for Engineering Ethics (NIEE).

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Keywords: global engineering, assessment, global courses, global competence

Professional engineering work is increasingly global in nature, requiring engineering graduates to work effectively across cultural differences. As such, engineering educators must provide opportunities for students to develop and practice these skills before graduation. In this paper, we present data collected from two courses focused on developing global competence in engineering students. The first class is a 3-credit undergraduate course titled Engineering in Global Context, which takes a cross-cultural/national comparative approach to explore what engineering is, how engineers are trained, what engineers do, and how engineering and society interact. The second class is a 3-credit graduate level course titled Globalization and Engineering. This course emphasizes the multifaceted dynamics of globalization, including its impact on engineering practice and the lives and education of engineers. Both classes additionally offer training and activities focused on inter/cross-cultural development. The study reported here is based on survey data collected in both of these courses over the span of three years, encompassing a total of 79 students. The survey consisted of items from the Global Engineering Competency Situational Judgment Test (GEC-SJT), the Global Engineering Competency Scale (GECS), the Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS), and the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale-Short form (MGUDS-S). As behavioral measure, the GEC-SJT measures give insight to how individuals might act in situations involving international colleagues. This survey presented students with three scenarios and a total of 13 associated rating items covering three cultural contexts and three different dimensions of global engineering practice. The GECS (10 items) measures competency along cognitive and behavioral dimensions. The CQS (20 items) assesses student self-perceptions of their ability to function effectively in cross-cultural situations. Finally, the MGUDS-S instrument (15 items) assesses the student’s attitudes toward diversity. To analyze these measures longitudinally, we compared students' pre-course and post-course scores on each instrument using t-tests. We also explored the impact of the course on an individual level using the standard error of measurement (SEM). The results showed significant growth in dimensions of the GECS and CQS. We also found that the SEM can detect individual change, so it is able to give perspective on individual impact when considering future course design.

Dang, N., & Davis, K., & Jesiek, B. (2022, August), Measuring Change in Students’ Development of Global Competency in Two Global Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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