July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Minorities in Engineering
This paper discusses the transition of an established residential Summer Bridge Program to a virtual learning experience due to the COVID-19 restrictions of summer 2020. The program aims to increase retention of first-year engineering students through a curriculum focused on academic readiness in math and chemistry, professional development, familiarity with campus and available resources, and a broad-based knowledge of engineering fields and the engineering design process. Outside of the curriculum, participants build community and a sense of belonging with social, professional development, and philanthropic programming. With the constraints of remote instruction, math readiness and community building were prioritized as crucial outcomes for participants in the virtual experience.
Due to concerns about student retention and program completion, special consideration was given to designing the curriculum and schedule of this virtual program, and to fostering student and family engagement leading up to the program. Various models for math instruction, interpersonal engagement, and academic support were considered during planning. In the implemented program, participants were enrolled in one of three math courses based on preassessment exam results. To increase peer-to-peer engagement, each student participated in a team-based design project and group mentoring. Current engineering students were hired as coaches to facilitate mentoring group discussions and help provide oversight during project work. Additional student staff served as dedicated tutors assigned to one of the math courses. Tutors were made available both inside and outside of class to provide tutoring and mentorship. The program was administrated via synchronous Zoom conferencing with supplemental content provided through the University’s course management system (CMS). Physical program materials were distributed by mail before and throughout the duration of the program.
Post-program survey data and anecdotal feedback indicate that participants’ confidence in their preparedness to pursue an engineering degree increased following completion of the program. While the available data also suggest participants were able to make social connections with select peers and staff, considerable work can be done to diversify and increase social connections during future virtual programs. Additional redesign of program content will also focus on increasing activity-based learning.
Quiroga, A., & Dalton, C., & Morales, L., & Jeffries, C. (2021, July), Transitioning to a Virtual Engineering Summer Bridge Program: Planning and Implementation (Experience) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37938
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