July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Interactions with subject matter experts during student design activities is an idea embraced by many faculty as a crucial component of a design course. However, the process of involving experts is challenging and takes a significant amount time in a semester that is already packed with other course requirements and activities. Furthermore, meaningful interactions between students and experts requires that students be trained on interaction etiquette, preparation for interactions, and on responsible conduct of research. With other priorities demanding student and faculty time, organizing and conducting interactions between experts and students in design courses may be difficult to achieve. Research to understand the value of expert interactions may inform educators as to the pedagogical value, and provide support for including these activities in design courses.
Graduate and undergraduate engineering and technology students from across the United States compete annually in the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Design Competition, a national airport design competition. The competition requires a design submittal in one of four competition categories: airport environmental interactions, airport management and planning, airport operation and maintenance, and runway safety/runway incursions/runway excursions. One of the six competition goals is to inspire undergraduate and graduate students to develop solutions for real-world challenges facing airports and the National Airspace System (NAS). The competition rubric consists of a total of 130 points allocated to different sections with 12 points allocated for interactions with experts. These 12 points are divided equally for contacts with airport operators and with industry experts. It is important that these interactions occur prior, or during the design process, and not only at the end of the design package development.
By analyzing the winning design packages, the researchers seek to understand the contributions of expert interactions before and during the design process, especially those that informed design choices, as reported by the student teams and their faculty advisors. The competition publishes the winning design proposals on the ACRP website. The 35 first-, second-, and third-place design packages from 2017 to 2020 were collected and analyzed using quantitative and qualitative research methods. From this data, themes are identified and specific examples are collected. The bias is reduced by the use of multiple researchers examining the student design proposals, and then comparing the results. Differences are documented and research team discuss the results to develop a consensus view. The authors are experienced in this design competition as faculty advisor and student team members. In addition to research results, a guide to interactions, how to find experts and engage them, and suggestions of the types of questions to ask are provided.
A study of the perceptions of the contributions of interactions with experts in a design course may enhance understanding of the value that these interactions have on the educational experiences of students in design courses. Consequently, understanding the value of the interactions provides educators incentive to include expert interactions in design courses.
Johnson, M. E., & Gupta, S., & Marete, C. K. (2021, July), Value Perceptions of Industry Interactions in a National Airport Design Competition Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/38009
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