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Student Learning in International Research Programs: A Comparison Across Cultural Contexts

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Study and Research Abroad

Tagged Division

International

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31008

Download Count

39

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Paper Authors

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Kirsten Davis Virginia Tech

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Kirsten Davis is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she also completed her master's degree in Higher Education. She is the graduate assistant for the Rising Sophomore Abroad Program, a global engineering course and study abroad program for first year engineering students. Her primary research interests are engineering study abroad, developing intercultural competency in engineering students, and international higher education.

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Yousef Jalali Virginia Tech

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Yousef Jalali is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering and M.Eng. in Energy Systems Engineering. His research interests include critical thinking, ethics, and process design and training.

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David B. Knight Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David Knight is Assistant Professor and Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of International Engagement in Engineering Education and affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program at Virginia Tech. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive.

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Vinod K. Lohani Virginia Tech

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Dr. Vinod K. Lohani is a Professor of Engineering Education and also serves as the Director of education and global initiatives at an interdisciplinary research institute called the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) at Virginia Tech. He is the founding director of an interdisciplinary lab called Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) at VT. He received a Ph.D. in civil engineering from VT. His research interests are in the areas of computer-supported research and learning systems, hydrology, engineering education, and international collaboration. He has served as a PI or co-PI on 16 projects, funded by the National Science Foundation, with a $6.4 million research funding participation from external sources. He has been directing/co-directing an NSF/Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site on interdisciplinary water sciences and engineering at VT since 2007. This site has 95 alumni to date. He also leads an NSF/Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site on interdisciplinary water research and have 10 alumni. He also leads an NSF-funded cybersecurity education project and serves as a co-PI on two International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) projects funded by the NSF. He has published over 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

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Rolf Müller Virginia Tech

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Rolf Mueller has studied various aspects of bat biosonar from the perspectives of biophysics and bioinspired engineering for almost 20 years and has (co)authored over 70 peer-reviewed, full-length publications on the topic. In particular, he has worked on statistical signal processing of sonar signals in complex, natural environments, biosonar beamforming, as well as biomimetic sonar systems. The focus areas of his current research are the extraction of adaptive design rules analysis from biodiversity and bioinspired dynamic principles for sensing. He is currently an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech and directs the Bioinspired
Science and Technology (BIST) Center, an ICTAS-supported interdisciplinary effort with 40 faculty members from across the university. In his international efforts, he directs the Shandong University - Virginia Tech International Laboratory that is dedicated to the engineering analysis of biosonar, flight, and system integration in bats. His international work has been recognized by the Friendship Award of the People's Republic of China (2010), a Dean's
Award of the VT College of Engineering (2011), and Virginia Tech's Alumni Award for International Research (2016).

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Abstract

Key words: research abroad, global competency, global programs As engineering work becomes increasingly global, it is important to provide opportunities for engineering students to develop global competency. However, study abroad programs can be challenging for students to fit into the highly structured engineering curriculum. One alternative is to offer engineering-focused international research experiences for undergraduates, which allow students to gain global experiences during the summer while also developing research skills. International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) is an NSF program that helps universities provide such opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields. This paper will compare two IRES programs based out of the same U.S. university: one that sends students to China and one to Australia. The study followed case study format where each program represents a separate case, and analysis was conducted both within cases and across cases. The results address the following research question: How does the location of an international research program influence what students learn from the experience? In Summer 2017, two civil engineering students completed research in Australia, while seven mechanical engineering students completed research in China. These students were provided with the same orientation at the beginning of the summer and their programs were of similar duration. After the conclusion of the programs, interviews were conducted with all participants asking about their experience and what they learned from it. Specifically, students were asked to discuss what they learned about what it means to be a researcher and what it means to be a global engineer. Initial coding was conducted within each case, and themes were developed for each case separately. The results of this coding process were then compared across both cases, and commonalities and differences identified. These results can inform the design of future global engineering programs in terms of location and components, and different outcomes between the two programs analyzed suggest opportunities to learn from each other.

Davis, K., & Jalali, Y., & Knight, D. B., & Lohani, V. K., & Müller, R. (2018, June), Student Learning in International Research Programs: A Comparison Across Cultural Contexts Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31008

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