June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Educational Research and Methods
12.1215.1 - 12.1215.14
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
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