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Quantitative And Qualitative Measures Of Community Development Through A Structured Workshop Curriculum

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Curricular Innovations

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1215.1 - 12.1215.14



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Paper Authors


Maura Borrego Virginia Tech

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MAURA BORREGO is an assistant professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech and 2005 Rigorous Research in Engineering Education evaluator. Dr. Borrego holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Her current research interests center around interdisciplinary collaboration in engineering and engineering education, including studies of the collaborative relationships between engineers and education researchers. She was recently awarded a CAREER grant from NSF to study interdisciplinarity in engineering graduate programs nationwide.

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Lynette Osborne National Academy of Engineering

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LYNETTE OSBORNE is a Scholar-in-Residence at the National Academy of Engineering/CASEE. Dr. Osborne holds a Ph.D. in sociology with an emphasis in Women's Studies from Purdue University. Her current research interests are concerned with instructional scholarship in engineering and equity of opportunity for women in engineering education.

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Ruth Streveler Purdue University

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RUTH A. STREVELER is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Before coming to Purdue she spent 12 years at Colorado School of Mines, where she was the founding Director of the Center for Engineering Education. She is co-PI on several NSF-funded projects and 5 months as the Acting Director for the NSF-funded Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education, a multi-campus project investigating the educational experience of engineering students. Dr. Streveler earned a BA in Biology from Indiana University-Bloomington, MS in Zoology from the Ohio State University, and Ph.D in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her primary research interest is investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in science and engineering.

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Karl Smith University of Minnesota


Ronald Miller Colorado School of Mines

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RONALD L. MILLER is professor of chemical engineering and director of the Center for Engineering Education at the Colorado School of Mines where he has taught chemical engineering and interdisciplinary courses and conducted research in educational methods for the past twenty years. He has received three university-wide teaching awards and has held a Jenni teaching fellowship at CSM. He has received grant awards for education research from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education (FIPSE), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Quantitative and Qualitative Measures of Community Development through a Structured Workshop Curriculum Abstract-- This paper presents example quantitative and qualitative measures for evaluating a program aimed at developing an engineering education community of practice. Specifically, social network analysis is presented as a quantitative method. Assessment and research results are from the NSF-funded Conducting Rigorous Research in Engineering Education: Cultivating a Community of Practice project. The workshops are funded for three years (from 2004 to 2006), and the experience includes both a 5-day summer workshop and a year-long experience that allows participants to conduct a small education research project guided by a more experienced mentor. This paper reviews community of practice literature and evolution of the workshop design to promote a community of practice in engineering education, presents quantitative analysis of the evolution of the 2006 community, and provides assessment evidence that the community has been evolving as a valued outcome of the program since 2004. Implications are drawn and specific assessment methods presented for those interested in building engineering education research capacity.

1. Introduction For the past three years, the National Science Foundation has funded “Rigorous Research in Engineering Education: Creating a Community of Practice” (DUE-0341127) to respond to recent calls for embracing more rigorous research in engineering education1-5. The goals of this project are to:

• Create and present workshops for engineering faculty on conducting rigorous research in engineering education. Five-day workshops are held in Golden, Colorado each summer from 2004 through 2006 to train faculty participants. For more details see the project website6 and prior publications describing the project3, 7-10. • Sustain the development of this project through establishing a community of practice. The foundation for this aspect of the project is the work of Wenger and his colleagues11, 12.

The program uses Wenger, McDermott and Snyder’s model of a community of practice (CoP)12. A previous publication3 describes how the RREE workshops were initially structured and updated to create a community of practice. Other similar programs are aimed at developing communities of practice in engineering and computer science education13, 14. A potential weakness of the community of practice literature is that it does not suggest quantitative methods for evaluating the impact of community-building efforts. This paper focuses on (1) summarizing assessment results from 2004-2006 relevant to community development, (2) quantifying and analyzing the emergent social network between 2006 participants, and (3) implications of this work for others interested in evaluating engineering education research capacity efforts.

2. The Community of Practice Model applied to Engineering Education Wenger et al. define a Community of Practice (CoP) as a unique combination of three fundamental elements: a domain of knowledge which is defined by a set of issues; a

Borrego, M., & Osborne, L., & Streveler, R., & Smith, K., & Miller, R. (2007, June), Quantitative And Qualitative Measures Of Community Development Through A Structured Workshop Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1596

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015