Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
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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