New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Higher Education is confronted with the challenge of providing new and improved methods for delivering experiential learning opportunities for engineering undergraduate students. This theme was underscored during last year's ASEE Conference. Our current article suggests coaching points based on two decades of capstone projects that have been successful in promoting economic development in the region we serve, while simultaneously creating integrative opportunities for MBA and MS Engineering Technology Graduates to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. Recently we extended our alliance to a cross disciplinary partnership between the College of Business and Technology and the College of Education. This was significant because our cross disciplinary graduate student team was able address a highly nonlinear technology-education-business issue in a political scenario; and suggest mutually beneficial solution paths. Based upon a review of relevant literature, the need surfaced during our 2015 Annual ASEE Meeting, and recent results of our applied research have identified a gap that can be closed. This gap is particularly acute at the graduate student level where enhanced experiential learning is often critical when demonstrating mastery of the subject matter. Further research is necessary to refine the needs in engineering at the undergraduate level. However, it is anticipated that mutually beneficial strategic alliances will contribute to improved learning outcomes for undergraduate engineering students as well.
A recent success story is helpful in illustrating the framework. Early in 2014 two of our community partners, mayors from the fifth and sixth largest counties of the 95 total counties in our state, asked for our help in sorting out the ramifications of today’s highly competitive distance learning environment. Our university has a strong outreach mission. Fortunately, two of our senior faculty members whose colleges and departments’ professional service goals were strategically well aligned with this specific request were able to respond positively. We agreed to establish a cross-disciplinary graduate student team with the required skills. The timing was such that several technology graduate students were taking their capstone class and this request was strategic and integrative in nature. The mayors presented the real-world challenge. How can we use technology to enhance the operational efficiency and strategic effectiveness of our K -12 programs in our counties? A specific goal of this effort was to improve the "soft skills" that our regional employers feel are lacking in our high school and college graduates. By soft skills they mean those professional development skills that we discussed so vigorously during last year’s conference. One of the difficulties of the project was that the information technologies were dramatically different in each county. Students responded positively and generated two innovative-complementary solutions. The mayors congratulated our students on their outstanding performance; and requested a follow-on project team this semester focusing on the operational effectiveness recommendations. Notice that the conceptual framework given in Figure 1 is comprised of three major segments: development, deployment, and improvement. These results illustrate successful completion through the deployment segment. Figure 1: Strategic Alliances for Enhanced Experiential Learning: A Conceptual Framework for Implementation
Czuchry, A. J., & Lampley, J. H., & Craig, L. M., & Karnes, A. S. (2016, June), Strategic Alliances May Become Key Success Factors for Enhanced Experiential Learning: A Conceptual Framework for Implementation Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25883
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