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Measuring Changes in Professional Skills in a Systems Exploration, Engineering, and Design Laboratory (SEED Lab)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Vibhuti Dave Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Vibhuti Dave has been teaching for 10+ years. She joined Colorado School of Mines in 2011 and is currently serving as Dean of Undergraduate Studies. She is also a teaching professor in the departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. She served as Assistant Department Head for Electrical Engineering from 2013 to 2018. She has experience leading assessment efforts for degree programs and is currently co-directing CS and industry partnership program called C-MAPP.

Prior to Mines, Dr. Vibhuti Dave taught at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College as an Assistant Professor in the Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering program. She received her undergraduate engineering degree in the field of Electronics and Communication from Nirma Institute of Technology, India in 2000. She received her M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Ph.D. (2007) in Computer Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL.

Dr. Dave’s research interests lie in the field of engineering education, high-speed computer arithmetic, and computer architecture. Her research has been focused on the design high-speed multi-operand adders. In addition, she is also interested in performing research in VLSI implementation of signal processing algorithms, and low power integrated circuit design.

Her teaching interests include Digital Logic Design, Computer Architecture, Computer Arithmetic, VLSI Design.

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Stephanie Claussen San Francisco State University

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Stephanie Claussen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at San Francisco State University. She previously spent eight years as a Teaching Professor in the Engineering, Design, and Society Division and the Electrical Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines. She obtained her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Her current engineering education research interests include engineering students' understanding of ethics and social responsibility, sociotechnical education, and assessment of engineering pedagogies.

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Tyrone Vincent Colorado School of Mines Orcid 16x16

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Tyrone L. Vincent received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1992, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1994 and 1997, respectively.
He is currently a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden. His research interests include system identification, estimation, and fault detection with applications in materials processing, and energy systems.

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Megan Sanders Colorado School of Mines Orcid 16x16

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Megan Sanders is the Senior Assessment Associate at the Trefny Innovative Instruction Center at the Colorado School of Mines. Before joining Mines, Megan worked at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Instructional Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, where her role focused on supporting instructors in conducting research about student outcomes in their courses. Megan’s disciplinary background is in educational psychology. She earned her PhD from the Ohio State University, and her research focused on the idea of relevance in higher education—how we define it, how students perceive it, and how to measure it—an interest that continues to inform her work.

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The Systems Exploration, Engineering, and Design Laboratory (SEED Lab) is a multi-faceted, semester-long, project-based, intra-disciplinary laboratory course for Electrical Engineering (EE) majors in their junior year at the Colorado School of Mines. Created with the support and input of industry partners, the SEED Lab aims to emulate our students' likely future experiences in a professional environment. The goal of this project is to explore the impact of the course in students’ professional skills, particularly around research, collaboration, prototyping, experimenting, and debugging.

SEED Lab is one of the first discipline-specific design-and-build-based courses for EE students in the degree program making it an optimal course to assess students’ perspectives on professional skills. In this paper, we present how we have measured changes in students’ perceptions of these skills between the beginning and the end of the course using a pre-/post-assessment. In Spring 2018, the faculty introduced a case study activity at the beginning of the semester, where students are given the description of a senior design project, and are asked to provide a narrative of the steps that they would take to execute the project. This case study activity was repeated at the end of the semester to assess how students’ plans would change after participating in SEED Lab. To code and evaluate the responses, our research team developed a rubric based on the Design Thinking Assessment Rubric developed at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. The individual case study responses enabled faculty to measure the evolution of students’ expression of the importance of the research, collaboration, prototyping, experimenting, and debugging during the design and development process.

This paper will present the development of the rubric and how it has been used to assess students’ responses to a case study design activity before and after the SEED Lab course. It will also describe the results that emerged from analysis of two semesters’ worth of student work and implications for teaching professional skills in other discipline-based settings.

Dave, V., & Claussen, S., & Vincent, T., & Sanders, M. (2021, July), Measuring Changes in Professional Skills in a Systems Exploration, Engineering, and Design Laboratory (SEED Lab) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37491

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