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Tracing Student Development During Construction Of Engineering Professional Portfolios

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Knowing Our Students II

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

11.1346.1 - 11.1346.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1181

Download Count

13

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Paper Authors

biography

Jennifer Turns University of Washington

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Jennifer Turns is an assistant professor in the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her interests include engineering education, learner-centered design, user-centered design, and audience analysis. Dr. Turns is currently working on multiple NSF grants dealing with engineering education including an NSF Career award exploring the impact of portfolio construction on engineering students’ preparedness for professional engineering practice. Email: jturns@u.washington.edu.

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Steve Lappenbusch University of Washington

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Steve Lappenbusch is a doctoral student in the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington. His interests include user-centered design, educational technology, and qualitative research methodologies. Email: lappy@u.washington.edu.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Tracing Student Development during Construction of Engineering Professional Portfolios Abstract: Engineering students undertake the learning of a deep and complex discipline. In addition to a large amount of difficult content knowledge, their growth into engineers entails understanding the role of their engineering discipline in society, the profession of engineering as a whole and perhaps most difficult, their own places in both their discipline and their profession. In this paper, we report on a study investigating the potential of portfolio construction (specifically construction of professional engineering portfolios) for promoting and advancing students’ growth into engineers.

Introduction

Engineering students undertake the learning of a deep and complex discipline. In addition to a large amount of difficult content knowledge, their growth into engineers entails understanding the role of their engineering discipline in society, the profession of engineering as a whole and perhaps most difficult, their own places in both their discipline and their profession. As a community, we need to develop innovative pedagogies to support all of these aspects of student development and to understand the impacts of such pedagogies.

In our work, we are exploring student construction of professional portfolios as one such pedagogical intervention1-2. In these portfolios, students describe their preparedness for engineering practice and provide evidence of their preparedness by drawing on experiences from across their curriculum. These portfolios include an overarching professional statement, artifacts illustrating their engineering skills and abilities (e.g. circuit design) and personal traits (e.g. leadership), and annotations to properly contextualize those artifacts for a specific professional audience (examples can be seen at http://courses.washington.edu/engrport/). Our goal in supporting this portfolio construction process is not to support assessment, as with many other portfolio efforts, but rather to create opportunities for learning and development.

We believe that portfolio construction offers a powerful variety of learning opportunities that leaves the portfolio creator more knowledgeable than she/he was prior to the portfolio construction activity. This belief comes from considering portfolio construction as a writing activity with the potential to transform the content knowledge about which the author is writing. Given that the creation of a portfolio involves writing about oneself, particularly one’s own experiences and one’s sense of belonging to the profession, the theory suggests that portfolio construction has the potential to transform, among other things, one’s understanding of one’s experience and one’s sense of how they fit in the profession.

This paper reports a study investigating this potential of portfolio construction. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In the background section, we provide additional detail on the theoretical framework guiding our work culminating with an identification of the specific research questions addressed in this paper. The method section provides detail on the context for our study (a class in which students were engaged in construction of professional portfolios) and discusses the larger study design from which this paper is drawn. In the results, we provide evidence of the kinds of learning opportunities we identified in the data. The paper closes with interpretation of the results and a discussion of the current direction of our work.

Turns, J., & Lappenbusch, S. (2006, June), Tracing Student Development During Construction Of Engineering Professional Portfolios Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1181

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015