June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
The American Council on Education issued an influential report in 1983 in which they challenged educational institutions to cooperate. The American Association for Higher Education responded by making collaboration a key focus of its national reform agenda. This has spurred a number of partnerships over the past 25 years. Most focus on stronger connections between K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions, professional development opportunities for college faculty, and development of articulation agreements. Most collaborations between two- and four-year institutions have involved improving success of transfer students.
There has also been an increasing awareness that industry needs graduates, from both two- and four-year programs, that can perform effectively on multi-functional teams. A relatively recent review of literature (2016) concluded such opportunities need to be addressed at the post-secondary level. A primary goal of this study is to provide an opportunity for students in two-year and four-year programs to work together.
A secondary goal is to tighten the relationship between the two institutions. The two-year college, a ten-minute drive away, is well-equipped to provide the required, practical, hands-on technical electives for the four-year Engineering Technology students. Meanwhile, some of the graduates of the two-year programs wish to continue their education, but are not very aware of the opportunities at the university. Enabling both sets of students to become comfortable with the other campus could be a win-win.
To address these goals, a pilot study is planned which involves a two-week project for a local company with students from both schools on mixed teams. The courses selected for the pilot have similar enough student learning outcomes that the project can meet the needs of both. The university students are all in an Engineering Technology B.S. program. Students from the community college are in a variety of A.A.S. and diploma programs including Robotics and Automation, Mechatronics, Instrumentation and Process Control, and Biomedical Equipment Technician.
Both courses will cover some of the same content so the students will have a common language. However, there are enough differences in the content that each set of students should be able to bring some special expertise to the table. Thus, the students can learn from one another and come to value the insights that different perspectives can offer.
The students will be surveyed regarding the experience and what they gained from their counterparts. The two instructors are developing a rubric that will be 80% identical so both sets of students have the same investment in the project. This also allows for a comparison of instructor/program expectations. The other 20% will allow each instructor to address some learning outcomes specific to their course. The company will also be asked to provide their perspectives on the quality of the student work.
The project will be run next month so the results and the analysis will be complete well before the draft paper is due. The expectation is that challenges will be identified and, hopefully, resolved so that the next iteration of this collaboration can be longer and more in-depth.
Sundheim, N. K., & Barker, A. J. (2019, June), Technician-Technologist Teamwork: Multifunctional Collaboration on Industry Projects Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33360
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