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The Impact of Role-Playing Simulations on Global Competency in an Online Transnational Engineering Course

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Global Competency and What Makes a Successful Engineer

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Page Numbers

23.1209.1 - 23.1209.18

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Paper Authors


Kari Wold University of Virginia

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Kari Wold is a doctorate student at the University of Virginia focusing on instructional technology in engineering education. She has published in and has presented on engineering education, international education, writing for English language learners, blended learning, and online learning. Wold’s primary interests focus on global education and methods of online instruction. She has degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Minnesota as well as a master’s degree in international education from George Washington University.

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Stephanie Moore Ph.D. University of Virginia

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Stephanie L. Moore, Ph.D. is Director of Engineering Instructional Design and Lecturer in the Engineering & Society Department in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Virginia. She is the instructor of the course, which she redesigned into a live, fully online, interactive environment and co-designed the class's simulation activity with her German colleague from Technische Universitaet, Dominik May. She is co-PI on an NSF grant (EEC #1136205, PI: John Bean) supporting the development and educational assessment of the integration of the simulation into this and other classes.

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The  Impact  of  Role-­‐Playing  Simulations  on  Global   Competency  in  an  Online  Transnational  Engineering  Course   Successfully  interacting  with  those  from  different  cultures  is  essential  to  excel  in  any  field.    However,  higher  education  engineering  students  are  not  explicitly  taught  to  do  so,  which  limits  their  professional  opportunities.    This  is  in  part  because  current  coursework  in  engineering  does  not  emphasize  the  importance  of  displaying  global  competency  skills  by  successfully  interacting  with  those  from  different  cultures.    Further,  many  institutions  struggle  with  determining  which  strategies  and  activities  are  universally  effective  and  allow  students  to  practice  the  global  competency  skills  now  crucial  for  success.   Students  have  an  increasing  number  of  opportunities  to  learn  to  display  global  competency  due  to  the  prevalence  of  transnational  education  methods  where  students  learn  online  alongside  students  located  in  different  countries.    Future  engineers  will  spend  substantial  amounts  of  time  in  these  environments,  and  learning  to  work  with  those  from  other  cultures  using  transnational  platforms  is  essential.    Current  coursework  must  now  employ  strategies,  such  as  embedding  interactive  role-­‐playing  simulations,  in  order  to  encourage  students  to  develop  and  illustrate  global  competency  skills  in  transnational  settings.    These  role-­‐playing  simulations  provide  environments  where  students  adopt  roles,  interact  with  other  students,  and  explore  and  address  realistic  global  problems.     However,  no  studies  have  addressed  whether  or  how  role-­‐playing  simulations  can  help  students  display  global  competency  skills  in  a  transnational  engineering  course,  nor  have  they  measured  students’  perceptions  regarding  the  effectiveness  of  using  role-­‐playing  simulations  for  this  purpose.    To  address  this  gap,  this  study  assess  the  use  of  role-­‐playing  simulations  transnational  course  involving  students  from  the  University  of  Virginia  and  Technische  Universität  Dortmund  in  Dortmund,  Germany.    It  does  so  by  using  course  observations  of  class  sessions,  analysis  of  student  projects,  and  interviews  with  class  participants.       Data  are  currently  being  collected  on  students  participating  in  two  sections  of  the  course  this  fall,  and  a  thorough  analysis  of  the  findings  and  implications  will  be  discussed  in  depth  in  the  paper  and  at  the  conference.    It  is  hoped  the  findings  from  this  study  informs  future  courses  on  how  to  instruct  students  in  how  to  display  the  global  competency  skills  that  will  help  them  succeed  in  the  world  that  awaits  them.        

Wold, K., & Moore, S. (2013, June), The Impact of Role-Playing Simulations on Global Competency in an Online Transnational Engineering Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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