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Mentor-focused Professional Development for Investigators Initiating Discipline-based Educational Research (DBER) in Biomedical Engineering

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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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Sharon Miller Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

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Dr. Miller is the Undergraduate Program Director and Clinical Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). After earning her BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Purdue University (West Lafayette), she earned her MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Her current roles include teaching, assisting in program assessment, student advising, and helping oversee undergraduate curriculum development and enhancement.

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Steven Higbee Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis Orcid 16x16

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Steve is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He received his PhD in Bioengineering from Rice University (Houston, TX) in 2013, after earning his BS and MS degrees from Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN). His current position focuses on teaching, curriculum development, advising, and promotion of undergraduate research.

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Our work funded by an NSF PFE: RIEF (Research Initiation in Engineering Formation) grant initiates a discipline-based educational research study of student design self-efficacy in an undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) program. A key component of our work focuses on our own professional development as engineering education researchers, which contributes to our abilities to undertake current and future engineering education studies. The professional development goal of our current work is to establish a mentorship framework that facilitates our development of engineering education research skills. We targeted three areas for learning and development as researchers: (1) social science research in design education, (2) mixed methods research, and (3) evidence-based teaching. To that end, we recruited a team of three faculty experts, one at our university and two from a large School of Engineering Education at a nearby university, to serve as engineering education research mentors.

Using an autoethnographic approach to examine our own professional development, we have implemented a professional development (PD) journal to capture our mentoring plan, interactions with our mentors, attendance of professional development events, and self-reflection questions and entries. Captured in a central location, the PD journal maintains mentor meeting agendas, research journal articles and questions, and meeting notes. Over the course of eight mentor meetings, we participated in partial or whole readings from eleven books and journals that describe educational research theories and methods related to self-efficacy, focus groups, mixed methods research, thematic analysis, and exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. After each mentor meeting, we independently reflected on six questions, which were developed by our mixed methods research mentor. Entries to date compile reflections that identify the learning and value of our work as engineering education researchers and that collaborative experiences are essential to refining our research skills.

In addition to our professional development efforts, our engineering education research focuses on identifying how self-efficacy relates to engineering design achievement in an undergraduate BME curriculum. The two research goals include: 1) to increase self-efficacy of undergraduate biomedical engineering students by providing project-based learning experiences throughout the curriculum; and 2) to identify if biomedical engineering student self-efficacy differences correlate with student ability to effectively translate fundamental knowledge towards engineering design. BME presents a gender-diverse, STEM population in which we can assess student self-efficacy toward design. Thus, our work aims to gain discipline-based knowledge on how BME students report their own self-efficacy toward engineering design, in order to help educators and employers understand barriers to student or employee success. To address our research goals, we have implemented four hands-on BME design projects in 200- and 300-level courses where we can assess team design reports using a rubric developed from design and teaching resources. Additionally, we successfully administered a quantitative self-efficacy questionnaire and a qualitative questionnaire with questions mapped to Bandura’s four identified sources of self-efficacy beliefs (mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional and psychological states). Our DBER work to date has focused on refining our mixed methods study, honing our quantitative and qualitative self-efficacy instruments, and analysis of preliminary data.

Miller, S., & Higbee, S. (2021, July), Mentor-focused Professional Development for Investigators Initiating Discipline-based Educational Research (DBER) in Biomedical Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37498

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