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Work in Progress: Engaging Engineering Teaching Staff in Continuous Improvement Process

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 14: Thinking about the Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Isabel Hilliger Pontificia Universidad Catholica de Chile Orcid 16x16

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Isabel Hilliger is the Associate Director for Assessment and Evaluation at the Engineering Education Division in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC). Isabel received a BEng from UC and an MA in Education Policy from Stanford University. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Computer Science at UC-Engineering. Her research theme is the use of methodologies and analytical tools for continuous curriculum improvement in Higher Education. She has created qualitative and quantitative instruments for outcome assessment in enginering education. She has also evaluated policy efforts towards engineering diversity and undergraduate research.

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Sergio Celis Universidad de Chile

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Sergio Celis is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering and Sciences at the Universidad de Chile. He conducts research on higher education, with a focus on teaching and learning in STEM fields. His primary research interest is in how multiple forces, internal and external to the institution, influence what and how we teach in colleges and universities. Sergio received his professional degree in industrial engineering at the University of Chile and his Ph.D. in higher education at the University of Michigan.

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Mar Pérez-Sanagustín Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III Orcid 16x16

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Mar Pérez-Sanagustín is a researcher and Associate Professor at the Computer Science Department of the Université Paul Sabatier and associate researcher at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Her research interests are technology-enhanced learning, engineering education, Self-Regulated Learning, MOOCs and b-learning.

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Jorge Baier Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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He is an associate professor in the Computer Science Department and Associate Dean for Engineering Education at the Engineering School in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Jorge holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto in Canada and a Master's Degree in Engineering Sciences from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His research focuses on areas of automated reasoning in Artificial Intelligence; specifically, automated planning, search and knowledge representation. Currently his research focuses on understanding how machine learning techniques can be applied to the intelligent decision-making process, on the applicability of reasoning techniques and learning to databases. He is also an assistant researcher at the Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Data.

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External influences to schools of engineering have resulted in important curriculum changes. Over the two decades, the influence of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) has driven the introduction of new and revised teaching and assessment methods to develop student outcomes stipulated by its criteria. In addition, the influence of industry has reinforced the importance of competency-based learning.

Embracing a competency-based curriculum posed the challenge of collecting evidence of outcome attainment. To this end, most institutions have implemented centralized assessment frameworks to demonstrate that future engineers have the abilities to succeed in the workplace. However, it is still unknown whether or not the collection of evidence for outcome attainment may trigger actions that result in improved teaching and learning. Concerning this issue, some researchers argue that students and teachers have not been adequately involved in outcome assessment. Students are commonly treated as consumers rather than active agents of their learning, while teachers are basically subject to unreliable feedback (mostly coming from rating scales). Consequently, evidence-based curriculums changes do not usually consider the perspectives of the most relevant curriculum stakeholders (i.e. teachers and students).

To understand how teachers and students engage with outcome assessment and curriculum decision-making, we are developing a case study about a continuous improvement process implemented between 2015 and 2017 at a large and selective school of engineering in Chile. To illustrate the mechanisms used to engage both stakeholders, to-date we have conducted 12 semi structured interviews and we have analyzed 124 documents to triangulate qualitative information collected from different data sources. This paper presents a work in progress by sharing the results obtained from the analysis of 97 outcome assessment plans developed by 57 teachers. Findings show different levels of engagement across time, as variations in the details and in the use of different type of assessment tools. Future work will analyze the perspectives of teachers and students on their involvement in the continuous improvement process. It will also focus on anticipating tensions between internal and external stakeholders concerning curriculum decision-making.

Hilliger, I., & Celis, S., & Pérez-Sanagustín, M., & Baier, J. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Engaging Engineering Teaching Staff in Continuous Improvement Process Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33612

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