June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
As over sixteen years of experience have demonstrated, outcomes-based assessment under the EC2000 criteria has created a space to recognize the role of the humanities and social sciences in engineering education. At least five of the outcomes derive directly from the humanities and social sciences (HSS), and another three either require or are enriched by HSS perspectives. Assessment according to the various criteria, however, does not provide a sense of the total contribution of the HSS to engineering education. This paper describes an effort to assess the contributions of the field of Science, Technology, and Society to undergraduate engineering education at the University of Virginia. Specifically, it describes a pilot test of what we are calling an "STS Qualifying Exam," which our fourth-year engineering students (over 700 students) took in the Fall 2016 semester. Drawing on the perspective offered in Gary Downey's (2005) article, "Are Engineers Losing Control of Technology?", we consider engineering to rely on both problem definition and problem solution. We designed the Qualifying Exam to assess students’ ability to use sociotechnical analysis to define possible problems and solutions for a novel scenario. We also designed a way to efficiently evaluate over 700 exam essays of about 500 words each. To improve the exam design for future iterations, and to improve the effectiveness of how we teach sociotechnical analysis and other skills through STS courses, we used qualitative analysis to code the best exam essays. With this method, we identified the factors we consider to be hallmarks of good sociotechnical analysis, enabling future evaluation of these hallmarks. This paper describes the rationale for the exam, the factors shaping its design, its results, and what we learned from assessing our students’ skills qualitatively.
Wylie, C. D., & Neeley, K. A., & Odumosu, T. (2017, June), The Whole as the Sum of More Than the Parts: Developing Qualitative Assessment Tools to Track the Contribution of the Humanities and Social Sciences to an Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29024
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