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WISEngineering: A Web-based Engineering Design Learning Environment

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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

New and Innovative Ideas

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1480.1 - 25.1480.12



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Paper Authors


Peter Thomas Malcolm University of Virginia

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Peter T. Malcolm,, is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia (UVA), Charlottesville. His primary interest is in developing software to help elementary and middle school students collaborate to understand and interact with STEM concepts.

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Jennifer L. Chiu University of Virginia

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Edward Pan University of Virginia

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M. David Burghardt Hofstra University

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Developing WISE into WISEngineeringWeb-based systems for education have tremendous potential to leverage interactivity,information resources, and online collaboration in the classroom. The Web-based InquiryScience Environment (WISE) from the University of California at Berkeley has successfullyincorporated many of these components. In this paper we introduce WISEngineering, a newcurriculum delivery, assessment, and feedback system that builds on and extends WISE to teachengineering design to middle school and high school students. The original WISE system hasbeen widely used by teachers and students around the world for science education. It hasfacilitated science teaching from upper elementary through high school. It has also providededucation researchers with valuable data about student learning (Linn, Clark & Slotta, 2003;Linn, Davis & Bell, 2004).WISE successfully supports science learning by guiding students through step-by-step inquiryand reflection. For WISEngineering, we have identified modifications that can be made to thesystem to support reflective engineering design (Adams, Turns & Atman, 2003). Engineeringeducation differs from science education in that it is centered on an iterative design processrather than an inquiry model. WISEngineering extends WISE by including scaffolds, such as ashared virtual wall for collaboration and a student design portfolio, to support engineeringeducation. Learning modules that we build for the WISEngineering platform will involveextensive hands-on engineering for real-world problems. Students’ digital designs inWISEngineering will form the blueprint for real artifacts students will build, test, and then returnto the WISEngineering forum to reflect upon and refine.In this paper, we describe WISEngineering, including the extensions and modifications we havemade to WISE to support engineering education. We discuss the design decisions and skillsrequired in order to develop these extensions, preliminary user feedback and usability datacollected by the system, as well as performance and security issues. Our primary audienceincludes researchers and STEM educators in K-12 who understand the potential of engineeringto engage students and interest them in related fields and careers. We anticipate thatWISEngineering will be a valuable tool to facilitate engineering education. Our description ofthe development process may also prove useful for those who are extending WISE, those whoare extending or modifying existing web-based educational environments, and those who aredeveloping new web-based educational environments.REFERENCES:Adams, R. S., Turns, J., & Atman, C. J. (2003). Educating effective engineering designers: the role of reflective practice. Design Studies, 24, 3, 275-294.Linn, M. C., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. D. (2003). WISE Design for Knowledge Integration. Science Education, 87, 4, 517-38.Linn, M. C., Davis, E. A., & Bell, P. (2004). Internet environments for science education. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Malcolm, P. T., & Chiu, J. L., & Pan, E., & Burghardt, M. D. (2012, June), WISEngineering: A Web-based Engineering Design Learning Environment Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22237

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