June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.1255.1 - 14.1255.15
Successful Use of Teams in a Human Computer Interaction REU: Combining Intensive Instruction with Strong Mentoring
Abstract SPIRE-EIT (Summer Program for Interdisciplinary Research and Education – Emerging Interface Technologies) at Iowa State University is a 10-week interdisciplinary summer Research Experience for 15 Undergraduates (NSF-funded) that integrates research and education in emerging interface technologies. Students are recruited from engineering, computer science, psychology, and design for an interdisciplinary mix. Classes in both content and professional development occupy approximately 35% of the students’ time: computer programming and graphics, interface design, human computer interaction, ethics, and graduate life. For the remaining time, students conduct interdisciplinary research projects in groups of three. Each group is mentored by graduate students in the Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program under the supervision of HCI faculty. The five research projects are presented at an end-of-the summer campus-wide research symposium in the form of posters, demos, and a five-page research paper. This REU Site benefits from strong institutional support and mechanisms for recruitment, mentoring and long-term retention that are particularly effective at targeting underrepresented groups in science and engineering. This analysis offers the reader key insights into building an REU experience that successfully uses teams and motivates faculty and graduate students to be strong mentors. The paper focuses on approaches to intensive coursework in HCI, the use of interdisciplinary teams, and the development of professional skills for academic careers. Introduction The National Science Foundation supports over 175 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) throughout the U.S. These REU sites have the goal of exposing undergraduate to the world of graduate research in STEM-related fields. The sites may vary in size, ranging from just a few students to 15 or more, and they often take place in the summer. REU sites vary enormously in their approach to exposing undergraduates to research. Some assign the participants to different labs in which they serve as interns, helping the faculty and graduate students with ongoing projects. This approach is valuable, but can lead to a sense of isolation if the participants cannot easily reflect with each other on their new experience. Other programs assign small groups of students to labs in order to decrease the potential for isolation. This research reports on the structure of a highly-successful REU site with a relatively rare configuration: 15 participants are co-located in a single lab but grouped in teams of three, and each team works on an existing research project. This approach attempts to establish a intense learning community1,2 within the REU, as discussed by other REU Site principle investigators3 in which students learn not only the relevant research content but also the critical practices of working as a team and taking initiative to study whatever is necessary to address a challenge. While such a configuration is not physically possible in all research contexts, these results offer the reader key insights into building an REU experience that successfully uses teams and motivates faculty and graduate students to be strong mentors.
Gilbert, S., & Shill, P., & Saunders, K. (2009, June), The Successful Use Of Teams In A Human Computer Interaction Reu: Combining Intensive Instruction With Strong Mentoring Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5417
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