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Work in Progress: Engaging Graduate Students as Co-creators of Educational Modules on an Interdisciplinary Topic

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Division Technical Session - NAE Grand Challenges, Graduate Students, Sustainability, and Makerspaces

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Kavitha Chandra University of Massachusetts Lowell

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Kavitha is at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, serving as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Francis College of Engineering. She directs the Research, Academics and Mentoring Pathways (RAMP) to Success program for first year engineering students. Her research ranges across computational acoustics, data analytics, stochastic modeling and engineering education.

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Trina Kershaw University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

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Trina Kershaw is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She conducts multidisciplinary research in education and creativity under the broad umbrella of cognitive science. Recent work includes using co-creation to develop curricular materials in graduate engineering education; devising training to help undergraduates comprehend research articles; and conducting research about creativity in computer programming, engineering design, and within classic psychology paradigms.

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Susan Tripathy University of Massachusetts Lowell

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Max Denis University of the District of Columbia

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Jorge Allen University of Massachusetts Lowell


Hong Liu University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

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Hong Liu is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She received B.S. degree with Honors in Computer Science and Mathematics dual-major and M.S. degree in Computer Science from Hefei Polytechnic University in 1982 and 1984, respectively. She received Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from New York University in 1990; her dissertation in the Internet Design won Brownstein Doctoral Research Award. Dr. Liu integrates research, education, and application in computer networks, cyber-physical systems, and network security. She published numerous papers with her students and collaborators on refereed journals and peer-reviewed conference proceedings. Dr. Liu, jointly with her student, is the recipient of the Conference Best Paper award at the 2015 IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security (IEEE HST’15). She serves on Cyber Security Education and Training Consortium. Dr. Liu was a recipient of 2010 Outstanding Women Award of UMass Dartmouth. Her research has been supported by National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative, Massachusetts Information Turnpike Initiative, NY Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications, and Westinghouse Research Grant for Women in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is an IEEE Senior Member.

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Tzuyang Yu University of Massachusetts Lowell

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Charles Thompson University of Massachusetts Lowell

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Co-creation in higher education is the process where students collaborate with instructors in designing the curriculum and associated educational material. This can take place in different scenarios, such as integrating co-creation into an ongoing course, modifying a previously taken course, or while creating a new course. In this Work-In-Progress, we investigate training and formative assessment models for preparing graduate students in engineering to participate as co-creators of educational material on an interdisciplinary topic. The topic of cyber-physical systems engineering and product lifecycle management with application to structural health monitoring is considered in this co-creation project. This entails not only topics from different disciplines of civil, computer, electrical and environmental engineering, business, and information sciences, but also humanistic issues of sustainability, environment, ethical and legal concerns in data-driven decision-making that support the control of cyber-physical systems.

Aside from the objective of creating modules accessible to students with different levels of disciplinary knowledge, the goal of this research is to investigate if the co-creation process and the resulting modules also promote interest and engagement in interdisciplinary research. A literature survey of effective training approaches for co-creation and associated educational theories is summarized. For students, essential training components include providing (i) opportunities to align their interests, knowledge, skills, and values with the topic presented; (ii) experiential learning on the topic to help develop and enhance critical thinking and question posing skills, and (iii) safe spaces to reflect, voice their opinions, concerns, and suggestions. In this research we investigate the adaption of project-based learning (PjBL) strategies and practices to support (i) and (ii) and focus groups for participatory action research (PAR) as safe spaces for reflection, feedback, and action in item (iii). The co-creation process is assessed through qualitative analysis of data collected through the PjBL activities and PAR focus groups and other qualitative data (i.e., focus group transcripts, interview transcripts, project materials, fieldnotes, etc.). The eventual outcome of the co-creation process will be an on-line course module that is designed to be integrated in existing engineering graduate and undergraduate courses at four different institutions, which includes two state universities and two that are historically black colleges and universities.

Chandra, K., & Kershaw, T., & Tripathy, S., & Denis, M., & Allen, J., & Liu, H., & Yu, T., & Thompson, C. (2022, August), Work in Progress: Engaging Graduate Students as Co-creators of Educational Modules on an Interdisciplinary Topic Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41517

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