New Masters of Arts in Teaching Engineering (MAT) Program at Tufts: For CSEd too? (#CSedWeek)

December 12, 2012 at 9:45 am 2 comments

I visited Tufts this week, and they got me thinking about the possibilities of using the umbrella of engineering education to advance computing education. Engineering Education is growing, with units devoted to that at Virginia Tech and Purdue. They have a new Masters degree for teaching about engineering (see below). Would this be a useful degree for the high school CS teacher?

I’m interested in exploring further the relationship between engineering education and computing education. The key difference that I see right now is that engineering education is focused on teaching engineering and design skills and concepts related to the physical world, where computing education has to teach about the virtual world. The design skills and methods are certainly in common. We can use methods from teaching about the physical world in the computational world, but they may not transfer. The laws are different. I believe that the greatest challenges of understanding computation are exactly outside the intersection set with understanding the physical world.

Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Tufts University School of Engineering are proud to announce the new Master of Arts in Teaching Engineering (MAT) program, which will prepare teachers for teaching engineering. Engineering has become an essential component of STEM disciplines at the middle and high school levels. There is a clear need to prepare engineering teachers who have a strong academic background in engineering as well as a research-based understanding of how students learn the concepts and design process of engineering. Engineering teachers must also have an intellectual appreciation for the ways in which mathematics and science fields intersect with engineering.

The program builds on the successful teacher preparation programs of the Education Department and the successful collaborations the department has had with development of engineering curriculum and STEM outreach in the Tufts School of Engineering, in particular the work of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. The program is designed to create a deeply reflective, intellectual culture of considering engineering in schools that bridges the traditional tensions between research and practice in teacher preparation. Learn more about the program at the Education department’s MAT in Engineering site.

via CEEO Main Site – New MAT Program.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I think that teaching computer science is a form of engineering education, and that engineering is often about choosing the right levels of abstraction. The real/virtual distinction you are making is not a particularly good split, as engineering does not limit itself to easily observed phenomena. The biggest difference I see is that engineering education is about designing new things, but some CS professors believe that CS is a pure math or historical discipline, with students never allowed to do anything new.

    Even if you take a very limited view of engineering, most high-school engineering involves a fair amount of computer programming.

  • […] (as far as I know) Endowed Chair for CS Ed.  Ben will be part of CEEO at Tufts — they have a new MAT for teaching engineering that I wrote about earlier, and I visited them last month and wrote about here.  A win for Ben, […]


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