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Transitioning to a Virtual Engineering Summer Bridge Program: Planning and Implementation (Experience)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Allison Quiroga P.E. University of Oklahoma Orcid 16x16

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Allison Quiroga serves as the ATT Summer Bridge Program Coordinator for the Gallogly College of Engineering Diversity and Inclusion Program at the University of Oklahoma. Her background includes B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Architectural and Civil Engineering from the University of Oklahoma.

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Christopher Dalton University of Oklahoma

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Dr. Chris Dalton is originally from Wichita, Kansas, where he developed his interests in mathematics, science and engineering through a variety of experiences as a student. He attended the University of Oklahoma, where he went on to complete his Bachelors (2004), Masters (2007) and Doctoral (2010) Degrees in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in thermal/fluid sciences. While at OU, Dr. Dalton was the recipient of two different NSF fellowships, the second of which focused on K-12 STEM outreach. Dr. Dalton joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2012 as a Professor of Practice, where he received multiple awards for teaching and advising undergraduate students. In 2015, he returned to his alma mater to join the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as Assistant Professor of Practice where in addition to his teaching responsibilities he serves as the coordinator for the mechanical engineering capstone program and the advisor for two student organizations: Sooner Off-Road and the Oklahoma Science Olympiad Alumni Association. He was recently promoted to associate professor of practice and is the recipient of the 2016 Brandon H. Griffith Award for Outstanding Faculty Member and the 2017 Tom J. Love Most Outstanding Professor Award.

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Lisa Morales University of Oklahoma

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Christopher Jeffries

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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.

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