June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
A full semester course, with a focus on engineering design to promote social good, was developed for second-year engineering students. The course, The Sky’s the Limit: Drones for Social Good, engages students with drone technology as well as the awareness of the needs, challenges, and resources of diverse communities and how drones can serve these communities. Humanities, ethics, and human centered design are explored in the context of engineering, and interwoven throughout the semester. The Sky’s the Limit: Drones for Social Good course includes critical aspects that relate to multiple engineering disciplines, which allows students to identify the connections between drones and their particular engineering concentration. The course is also multi-disciplinary and encourages critical social reflection. Students consider a broad range of applications of drones with the goal of promoting social good. The course culminates in an entrepreneurial project that incorporates knowledge and skills from several engineering disciplines in the context of engineering for social good.
Research has found that engineering students who are female, Black, and/or Latinx, are drawn to pursuing careers that they identify as promoting social justice and a greater social good. By engaging students in a semester-long, project-based engineering course in which they develop applications of drones that are designed to benefit diverse communities, our course should aid in retention of female, Black and Latinx students.
As part of Rowan University’s engineering program, all second-year students majoring in engineering take a project-specific sophomore engineering class (SEC) during their spring semester. Our course, The Sky’s the Limit: Drones for Social Good, was taught to a small subsection of students taking SEC. SEC courses are generally taught in sections of 20-24 students. Students self-select for the project of their preference and about 80 students self-selected to work on the drones for social good project. In future work, assessment of the success of the course curriculum will be completed through qualitative analysis of student reflections, interviews and document analysis of student work. Additionally changes in students’ attitudes towards engineering and social responsibility will be assessed through quantitative analysis.
Barillas, K., & Fernandez, S. (2019, June), The Sky’s the Limit: Drones for Social Good Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33425
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