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Utilizing an Innovative Engineering Skills Curriculum and Technology to Expand Classroom Learning in Low-Resource Settings

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 7

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Dhinesh Balaji Radhakrishnan Purdue University

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Dhinesh Radhakrishnan is a doctoralstudent in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research includes utilization of technology in education, and socially constructed education in low-resource settings. His current work is on developing engineering skills curriculum for out-of-school youth in Africa utilizing digital learning materials. He is the Global Student Forum Chair for 2016 in SPEED. He is also the Co‐Director of Footsteps. He has been associated with SPEED for the past 6 years and served in various positions. He holds a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering and Masters in Energy Systems (Specialization in Renewable Energy).

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Jennifer DeBoer Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Jennifer DeBoer is currently Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses on international education systems, individual and social development, technology use and STEM learning, and educational environments for diverse learners.

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Topics: 1.) Integration of International Programs in the Engineering Curriculum (year long, semester, short term/ study abroad, co-op, and service learning) 2.) Experiential and Project-based Learning in Engineering Programs Overseas 3.) Techniques in Web-Based and Technology Enhanced Education Around the Globe

With this work-in-progress paper, we report on the design of an innovative curriculum for engineering skills for low-resource pre-college students. Engineering knowledge and skills are in high demand for local and global knowledge economies and provide individuals access to social and economic mobility. However, basic engineering education is inaccessible to many students in low-income and low resource areas. Educational technology may be one component of a solution that addresses access and equity. The curriculum focuses on science and engineering problem solving within real world constructs. We adopt the Integrated Course Design for Outcome-Based Education (Streveler, Smith, & Pilotte, 2012) for this design. This curriculum comprises of four unique components: (1) using technology for access to learning modules, (2) taking advantage of the residential environment and delivering content in a flipped structure, (3) utilizing service learning by building on community needs for engineering problems, and (4) iteratively developing the curriculum in close concert with teachers and students. This course is currently designed for out-of-school youth at a residential children transition center located at western Kenya in a peri-urban agricultural area in a major urban center. We apply backward design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) in developing the curricular priorities and content to be delivered based on the learning objectives defined along with the center director and students. The course aims to prepare students for adaptable problem-solving, design, and evidence-based decision making. This curriculum is a unique form of experiential education based on a synergistic model in which academic objectives are integrated with community development and collaborative learning. We believe that the potential learning from this curriculum along with career development will help the students build relationships with their community and find employment opportunities. Further, this emerging ability to create their own solutions could scaffold into entrepreneurship learning and opportunities as part of future courses. The course is built on findings from previous work showing promise for increased learning outcomes from flipped classroom platforms and student-driven curricula. The paper provides an overview of the content, assessment and pedagogy, and the role of technology for the course planned.

Radhakrishnan, D. B., & DeBoer, J. (2016, June), Utilizing an Innovative Engineering Skills Curriculum and Technology to Expand Classroom Learning in Low-Resource Settings Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27175

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