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Story-Driven Learning: A Pedagogical Approach for Promoting Students’ Self-Awareness and Empathy for Others

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Communication II: Curricular Practices, Integrations, and Collaborations

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37730

Download Count

85

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Paper Authors

biography

Kali Lynn Morgan Georgia Institute of Technology

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Kali is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. She holds a master's degree in Student Personnel in Higher Education from the University of Florida and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction- Higher Education emphasis from the University of South Florida. Her research explores equity in STEM education, student development and learning.

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Cristi L. Bell-Huff Georgia Institute of Technology

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Cristi L. Bell-Huff, PhD is a Lecturer and Director of Faculty and Student learning in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. She is involved in teaching and educational innovation and research. In addition to her PhD in Chemical Engineering, she also has an MA in Educational Studies. She has industrial experience in pharmaceutical product and process development as well as teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

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Janece Shaffer StoryReady LLC

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Janece Shaffer, award-winning playwright and founder of StoryReady, has teamed up with Georgia Tech’s Dr. Joseph Le Doux to create a signature storytelling curriculum that is now required for all biomedical engineering students. Shaffer is also currently leading a year-long, story-based leadership program for more than 100 engineering educators at the most respected higher ed institutions in the country. Her storytelling curriculum is filled with surprise and discovery and may be presented online, in-person, one-on-one or with groups. Shaffer invites her clients to engage in a dynamic way that sets the stage for bold sharing, deep learning and strategic, big-picture thinking. Georgia Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Georgia Power and The Home Depot are among her many clients.

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Joseph M. LeDoux Georgia Institute of Technology

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Joe Le Doux is the Executive Director for Learning and Training in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Dr. Le Doux's research interests in engineering education focus on problem-solving, problem-based learning, the problem solving studio approach, the socio-cognitive aspects of the flipped and blended learning environments, and story-driven learning.

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Abstract

How do we help students make meaning of their experiences inside and outside the engineering classroom? Also, how can we help students develop the skills they need to communicate their meaning-making and its value to others? The purpose of this paper is to describe a newly required course, The Art of Telling Your Story, for undergraduates in biomedical engineering at one highly selective technical university. In this course, students develop and share powerful stories of events that transformed them in some meaningful way. The course facilitator and students engage in joint dialogues around these stories that build self-awareness and that help them to see themselves as being entrepreneurially-minded. Preliminary findings suggest that students: 1) thoroughly enjoy the course, but more importantly, 2) develop empathy for their peers beyond the cognitive perspective taking-type of empathy employed in design thinking, 3) and develop self-awareness. In this paper, we describe the structure and evolution of the course, as well as our strategy for obtaining approval for this course becoming a requirement. We also describe the unique environment that promotes psychological safety among students so that they may fully engage in, and therefore benefit from, the course.

Two evidence-based theories underpin the pedagogical approach of this course: Qi Wang’s cultural dynamic theory of autobiographical memory and transportation theory. Wang’s theory posits that joint reminiscences of experiences (stories) among family members provides opportunities for parents to shape how their child frames those experiences, which influences how the child’s self-concept, that is, who they believe they are, as a person (Wang, et al., 2017). Transportation theory (Green & Brock, 2000) shows that stories, to be influential on a person’s beliefs, need to have certain characteristics that, when present, gives the story listener a feeling they actually experienced the events of the story. Our expectation is that story-driven learning, as enacted in this course, helps students create and share transportive stories that are capable of reshaping their self-concept as being entrepreneurially minded, which includes creating value for society. We contend that simply understanding what having an entrepreneurial mindset means is insufficient for shaping behavior; it is our students’ self-conceptions of being entrepreneurially minded is what will lead them to take actions that are driven by their entrepreneurial mindset. As such, we believe that this course facilitates development of the whole student and encourages students to work toward creating value for our world.

Morgan, K. L., & Bell-Huff, C. L., & Shaffer, J., & LeDoux, J. M. (2021, July), Story-Driven Learning: A Pedagogical Approach for Promoting Students’ Self-Awareness and Empathy for Others Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37730

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