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Office Hours Re-imagined: Mentored Learning in Ideation Spaces

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Mentoring, Advising, and Facilitating Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Thomas F. Schubert Jr. P.E. University of San Diego

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Thomas F. Schubert, Jr. received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California, Irvine. He is currently a Professor of electrical engineering at the University of San Diego, San Diego, CA and came there as a founding member of the engineering faculty in 1987. He previously served on the electrical engineering faculty at the University of Portland, and Portland State University, and on the engineering staff at Hughes Aircraft Company. Prof. Schubert is a member of ASEE and IEEE and is a registered professional engineer in Oregon. He is the 2012 winner of the ASEE Robert G. Quinn award for excellence in engineering education.

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Frank G. Jacobitz University of San Diego

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Frank G. Jacobitz was born in Göttingen, Germany, in 1968. He received the
Diploma in physics from Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, Germany, in
1993, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University
of California, San Diego, La Jolla, in 1995 and 1998, respectively.
He has been with the University of San Diego, San Diego, CA, since 2003,
where he is currently a Professor of mechanical engineering. From 1998 to 2003,
he was an Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering with the University of
California, Riverside. He has also been a visitor with the Centre National de la
Recherche Scientifique at Aix-Marseille Université in Marseille, France. His
research interests include direct numerical simulations of turbulent flows with
shear, rotation, and stratification, as well as bio-fluid mechanical problems at
the microscale.
Prof. Jacobitz is a Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
(ASME), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),
the American Physical Society (APS), the European Mechanics Society (EUROMECH),
and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG). He currently
serves as the faculty advisor to the student section of the ASME at the University
of San Diego and the President of the Pacific Division of the AAAS. He
received the Outstanding Engineering Educator Award from the San Diego
County Engineering Council in 2008, the Faculty of the Year Award from the
Zeta Omega Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity in 2013, the Outstanding
Undergraduate Research Mentor Award from the University of San Diego in
2014, the Preceptor Award of the University of San Diego in 2015, and Best
Paper Awards from the Division of Experimentation and Laboratory Oriented
Studies of the American Society for Engineering Education in 2008 and 2014.

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Ernest M. Kim University of San Diego

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Ernie Kim received his BSEE from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and MSEE and PhD in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University. He has been an electronics engineer at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) at the Boulder CO labs where he performed research on precision optical fiber metrology, staff engineer with the Advanced Systems Group of Burroughs Corporation, Manager of Electro-Optics at Ipitek Corporation where he developed early fiber optic CATV systems. Dr. Kim has worked at a number of start-up companies in fiber optic transmission including All Optical Networks, and Lightwave Solutions in San Diego. He joined the University of San Diego Department of Electrical Engineering in 1990. Dr. Kim is a licensed Professional Engineer (EE), and regularly teaches FE and PE exam review courses.

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This is an Evidence-Based practice paper.

Traditional office hours are an important component in student learning. However, they are limited as to student throughput due not only to time limitations but also physical space. Physical space limitation acts as a bottleneck to both faculty-student and student-student interaction and mentoring. In September 2015, the University opened an ideation space with reconfigurable walls, abundant board space, computer monitors and projectors, as well as roaming tables and chairs. The space was quickly adopted by students learning in groups or individually. A group of faculty from two engineering disciplines decided to hold about half of their scheduled office hours in the ideation space. It quickly became obvious that the new ideation space allows for a different interaction with students seeking help. The available space allows for multiple groups of students to interact with each other as well as interact with the faculty mentor concurrently. Initial student feedback indicates that the students prefer ideation space mentoring and find it a more-effective learning experience. Efficacy comparisons to traditional office hour mentoring covering a one-semester deployment are made in this paper. Additional survey results and data on ideation space utilization as compared to traditional office hours covering a full academic year will be presented at the conference.

Schubert, T. F., & Jacobitz, F. G., & Kim, E. M. (2016, June), Office Hours Re-imagined: Mentored Learning in Ideation Spaces Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25817

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