June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.1567.1 - 22.1567.11
Undergraduate Engineers Engaging and Reflecting in a Professional Practice SimulationWe have developed a novel computer simulation game based on authentic engineering practicesand are using it with first-year engineering undergraduates to supply them with a more completeand accurate understanding of the engineering profession. The game is student-focused in that itis tailored to the newest generation of engineering students who are more computer literate,electronically connected, and simulation game-oriented than any prior generation. The game alsois epistemic frame-based in that it seeks to teach and assess the degree to which students acquirethe skills, knowledge, values, identity, and epistemology (i.e., the epistemic frame) of theengineering profession.Prior work has shown that a key step in developing the epistemic frame of many professions,especially those that require innovation, is some form of professional practicum [1,2], which isan environment in which a learner takes professional action in a supervised setting and thenreflects on the results with peers and mentors. Skills and knowledge become more and moreclosely tied as the student learns to see the world using the epistemic frame of the profession.Examples include capstone design courses in undergraduate engineering programs, medicalinternships and residencies, or almost any graduate program in STEM disciplines. Prior work hasalso shown that epistemic games—learning environments where students game-play to developthe epistemic frame of a profession—increases students’ understanding of and interest in theprofession [3-5].In this paper, we present preliminary results of Nephrotex, a novel epistemic game in whichundergraduate engineering students role-play as professional engineers-in-training in order todevelop the skills, knowledge, values, identity, and epistemology of engineers. First yearengineering students participated in Nephrotex as a virtual internship simulation as part of anintroductory engineering course. Students in two modules (N = 25 and N = 20) engaged in thegame. Multiple types of data were collected: (1) pre/post data about their interest in engineeringas a career, specific engineering content, and their engagement in the simulation; (2) all emailsand assignments from the game; and (3) all chat communications with their teammates and amentor. These interactions within the game were coded for the presence of epistemic frameelements that identify professional practice.One aspect of the simulation that seemed especially helpful for students was the reflectionmeetings that each group of students had with their online mentor at specific points in thesimulation. The mentors guided the students through questions designed to illicit the students’actions in the game and project how they should proceed going forward. These meetings wererich sources of the professional engineering epistemic frame elements that the game is trying tohelp the students develop.The full paper will discuss in more detail the impact of these reflection meetings, the pre/postdata, and the overall epistemic frames that first year engineering students developed throughtheir engagement in this epistemic game.1. Schon, D.A., The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. 1983, New York: Basic Books. x, 374.2. Schon, D.A., Educating the reflective practitioner: Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. 1987, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.3. Shaffer, D.W., How Computer Games Help Children Learn. 2007, New York: Palgrave.4. Svarovsky, G.N. and D.W. Shaffer, SodaConstructing knowledge through exploratoids. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2007. 44(1): p. 133-153.5. Bagley, E.A.S. and D.W. Shaffer, When people get in the way: Promoting civic thinking through epistemic gameplay. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 2009. 1(1): p. 36-52.
D'Angelo, C. M., & Chesler, N. C., & Shaffer, D. W., & Arastoopour, G. (2011, June), Undergraduate Engineers Engaging and Reflecting in a Professional Practice Simulation Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--19003
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