June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Educational Research and Methods
11.1150.1 - 11.1150.18
Strategies for Integrating Service-Learning into the Engineering Core at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract While the pedagogy of Service-Learning (S-L) has been applied beneficially in a variety of disciplines, only recently have engineering departments begun to adopt the practice of integrating academically-relevant community service projects into classes and, in doing so, it is most common to offer service-oriented projects in elective classes. However, the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have independently begun to develop S-L programs in engineering fields that work specifically to use the pedagogy in the core curriculum of the discipline. While the two universities and educational programs are distinct, the approach to S-L has been reasonably similar, and faculty and staff from each school have used common tools and methods to assess certain aspects of the integration from student and faculty perspectives. From surveys used at both of the schools (almost 760 pre-surveys and 680 post-surveys administered in the 04-05 academic year), a key finding was that student opinion changed significantly regarding the relationship between engineering and societal problems; students developed the belief that engineers should apply their skills to solve social problems. Additionally, both institutions surveyed the engineering faculty about their attitudes toward S-L and found the majority of faculty showed considerable interest in the concept. Overall, these findings show promise for integrating S-L into core engineering curriculums.
Introduction Service-Learning (S-L) has a rich history in education, providing students and the communities they serve with significant benefitsi,ii,iii. Service-Learning is the integration of academic subject matter with service to the community in credit-bearing courses, with key elements including reciprocity, reflection, coaching, and community voice in projectsiv. Reflective activities help students process their experience and gain insight into the service they perform, the concepts that they are reinforcing, and the connection between the twov,vi,vii. When S-L is used effectively in an academic class, students typically benefit in a number of important ways, including motivation for learning, teamwork, communication, synthesis of multiple technical concepts, understanding of engineering ethical responsibilities, and civic engagementi,ii,iii.
As shown in Table 1, S-L can help educators to fulfill ABET Criterion 3 standardsviii,ix. Table 1: Relationship between ABET Criterion 3 and S-L Pedagogy Criterion 3 standards How S-L can meet these (a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, Well-chosen S-L projects provide students science, and engineering with the opportunity to apply these knowledge sets directly to real, potentially ambiguous problems. (b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, S-L projects can fit this criterion exactly; for as well as to analyze and interpret data example, students might collect and then analyze data for an agency interested in local groundwater contamination or the experimentation may be part of developing a technical solution to a problem. (c) an ability to design a system, component, or As students working on S-L projects involve
Banzaert, A., & Duffy, J., & Wallace, D. (2006, June), Strategies For Integrating Service Learning Into The Engineering Core At The University Of Massachusetts Lowell And The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/561
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