Asee peer logo

Using a Campus-wide Community of Practice to Support K-12 Engineering Outreach

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Assessment and Evaluation of K-12 Engineering Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1414.1 - 25.1414.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Tracey Louise Collins North Carolina State University

visit author page

Tracey Collins is the Project Coordinator for the MISO Project. Responsibilities include implementing activities of the project, coordinating efforts among K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outreach programs, and working closely with university enrollment management and data management professionals at the Friday Institute. She works closely with large and small STEM outreach groups like the Science House, the Kenan Fellows Program, and the Engineering Place, as well as small, individual-PI groups offering K-12 outreach to teachers and students. More specifically, Collins assists with planning, implementing, managing, and reporting of project activities which include survey development, coordination of data collection, interfacing with data managers, coordination of quarterly meetings of outreach providers to gather feedback, identify best practices, and disseminating findings to stakeholders. In addition, she assists with annual report writing and conference presentations. Prior to working at NC State, Collins was the Online Learning Project Manager for NC TEACH and Project Coordinator for NC TEACH II at the UNC Center for School Leadership Development. Key responsibilities there included the development, implementation, teaching, and assessment of the NC TEACH OnLine Program, NC TEACH II, and program website.

visit author page


Eric N. Wiebe North Carolina State University

visit author page

Eric Wiebe is an Associate Professor in the Department of STEM Education at NC State University and Senior Research Fellow at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. A focus of his research and outreach work has been the integration of multimedia and multimodal teaching and learning approaches in STEM instruction. He has also worked on research and evaluation of technology integration in instructional settings in both secondary and post-secondary education. Wiebe has been a member of ASEE since 1989.

visit author page


Laura Bottomley North Carolina State University

visit author page

Laura J. Bottomley, Director, Women in Engineering and K-12 Outreach programs and Teaching Associate Professor, College of Engineering, North Carolina State University, received a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1984 and an M.S. in electrical engineering in 1985 from Virginia Tech. She received her Ph D. in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University in 1992. Bottomley worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a member of technical staff in Transmission Systems from 1985 to 1987, during which time she worked in ISDN standards, including representing Bell Labs on an ANSI standards committee for physical layer ISDN standards. She received an Exceptional Contribution Award for her work during this time. After receiving her Ph D., Bottomley worked as a faculty member at Duke University and consulted with a number of companies, such as Lockheed Martin, IBM, and Ericsson. In 1997, she became a faculty member at NC State University and became the Director of Women in Engineering and K-12 Outreach. She has taught classes at the university from the freshman level to the graduate level and outside the university from the kindergarten level to the high school level. Bottomley has authored or co-authored more than 40 technical papers, including papers in such diverse journals as the IEEE Industry Applications Magazine and the Hungarian Journal of Telecommunications. She received the President's Award for Excellence in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Mentoring program award in 1999 and individual award in 2007. She was recognized by the IEEE with an EAB Meritorious Achievement Award in Informal Education in 2009 and by the YWCA with an appointment to the Academy of Women for Science and Technology in 2008. Her program received the WEPAN Outstanding Women in Engineering Program Award in 2009. Her work was featured on the National Science Foundation Discoveries website. She is a member of Sigma Xi, Past Chair of the K-12 and Pre-college Division of the American Society of Engineering Educators and a Senior Member of the IEEE.

visit author page

Download Paper |


MISO (Maximizing the Impact of STEM Outreach through Data-driven Decision-Making) is a campus-wide project, funded by the Nation Science Foundation, at North Carolina Sate University. This projectseeks to both better understand and support the collective impact of K-12 STEM outreach efforts of theuniversity. The project arose out of a campus-wide ad-hoc committee organized by the office of extensionand engagement. Initial findings from the committee pointed to a large number of activities across campus,but no organizational network to provide a community of practice to facilitate communication and supportamong the different groups involved in this work.One of the key strategies of the MISO project is to support data-driven decision-making by outreachproviders. To do so, experts in educational evaluation have worked with project leaders to deviseevaluation strategies with two, synergistic goals. First, this data will both allow individual outreachprograms to better understand the impact of their strategies on STEM learning and engagement in theirparticipants. Second, the collective pooling of data across outreach programs will allow the campus-widecommunity of practice to better understand which practices are demonstrating the highest efficacy inparticular contexts and populations.The project is also aimed at evaluating students and teachers involved in STEM education outreachprograms in an effective, longitudinal manner. To do so, a common STEM Outreach Evaluation Protocolwas developed that has common survey instruments used by outreach providers, matched with longitudinaldata from state-wide public instruction databases. The goal will be to be able to track students acrossmultiple years, through multiple STEM outreach experiences and, eventually matriculation to colleges anduniversities (including NCSU).The new data-driven assessment tools will be used for MISO project research, and will be available to anySTEM outreach campus program. In this way, any STEM outreach project affiliated with NCSU, big orsmall, will have access to a valid tool in order to evaluate the impact of their project, as well as MISOresearch results. In order to support the campus-wide community of practice, projects will have theopportunity to work collaboratively during twice yearly workshops, providing a venue for opportunities forcommunication and the sharing of evaluation theories, issues, approaches, and practices in extension andinformal education.In the latter part of the MISO project, results and evaluation methods will be shared with other institutionsin the University of North Carolina system, therefore giving them the ability to evaluate their own STEMimpact through outreach and extension programs via our replicable model.A central part of STEM outreach efforts at NCSU includes K-12 engineering. To this end, MISO haspartnered with the Engineering Place. The mission of the Engineering Place is to educate, both directly andindirectly, the citizens of North Carolina, particularly K–12 students, about the true nature of engineeringand the opportunities and careers within engineering through hands-on, inquiry- and problem-basedprograms and informational workshops and tools.Faculty and staff from the Engineering Place has worked collaboratively with MISO, participating in theproject’s advisory board and agreeing to be part of the pilot phase of the MISO project during the summerof 2011.This paper will describe how MISO and the Engineering Place have, to date, worked together to enhancethe data-driven decision-making capacity of their engineering outreach projects. In addition, future plansand how these collaborations at NCSU might be replicated at other colleges and universities with K-12engineering outreach activities will be addressed.

Collins, T. L., & Wiebe, E. N., & Bottomley, L. (2012, June), Using a Campus-wide Community of Practice to Support K-12 Engineering Outreach Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22171

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: © 2012 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