Posts tagged ‘engineering education’

Why ‘U.S. News’ should rank colleges and universities according to diversity: Essay from Dean Gary May #CSforAll

Georgia Tech’s Dean of Engineering Gary May was one of the advisors on “Georgia Computes!”  He makes a terrific point in his essay linked below.  Want broadened participation in computing (BPC)? CS for All?  Make diversity count — and rankings are what “counts” in higher education today.

U.S. News & World Report, that heavyweight of the college rankings game, recently hosted a conference focused partially on diversity in higher education. I did an interview for the publication prior to the forum and spoke on a panel at the event.I was happy to do it. As dean of one of the country’s most diverse engineering schools, I am particularly invested in these issues. My panel focused on how to help women and underrepresented minority students succeed in STEM fields, and I’m grateful to U.S. News for leading the discussion.But the publication, for all its noble intentions, could do more to follow through where it counts. Diversity is currently given no weight in the magazine’s primary university and disciplinary rankings, and it’s time for that to change. As U.S. News goes, so goes higher education.

Source: Why ‘U.S. News’ should rank colleges and universities according to diversity (essay)

August 31, 2016 at 7:29 am 1 comment

One reason we have so much engineering and so little computer science taught at US high schools. | ACM Inroads

Joe Kmoch wrote an interesting follow-on to my blog post about why we have so little CS ed in the US.  Why is that engineering is succeeding so much more than CS in high schools in the US?  He suggests that (in part) it’s because engineering is getting the PD right.

I think the reason is that groups like Project Lead the Way (PLTW) offer an “off the shelf” high quality program, vetted by engineers.  The attractiveness of this is that the school and students get access to a number of well-written up-to-date courses and they also get access to intensive professional development for teachers who want to teach a particular PLTW course.  Teachers must not only take but also pass the two-week intensive summer course before being allowed to teach a particular course.  There is regular monitoring of schools in terms of offering a minimal 3-course sequence of engineering courses and evaluating how well these courses are being taught.

In computer science we have really never had such a program available.  The AP is not such a program.  If a school wants to teach a computer science course, they have to find a teacher who is willing to put together a course syllabus, and then teach that course.  (For AP, the course must be audited for fidelity).  There really isn’t any professional development required to teach any kind of computer science course in most states.

via One reason we have so much engineering and so little computer science taught at US high schools. | ACM Inroads.

November 19, 2013 at 1:30 am 2 comments

All-female engineering class and programming academy

In one week, I found two articles about all female programming academy (first quote and link below) and engineering high school class (second link and quote below). Both of them talk about issues of sexism and intimidation that they hope an all-female cohort will help to avoid.

Why just for women? Because some hiring managers, in response to these statistics, are particularly interested in hiring women, Worthy says. “The need is very top-of-mind,” she says. In addition, there are other training options for men, though they aren’t free like the Ada Developers Academy is, she admits. Moreover, some women and girls have encountered sexism in school and training programs themselves; an all-female class may forestall that problem.

The Ada Developers Academy isn’t the only such effort to challenge this trend. A number of other parallel training opportunities for women are also springing up, some for students and some for working women, to help fill jobs and address the growing gender gap in programming.

via Washington State Group Announces One-Year Programming Academy for Women.

Seventeen female students are enrolled in Wisconsin’s first high school class aimed at women in engineering.

Women comprise more than 20% of engineering school graduates but only 11% of practicing engineers, according to the National Science Foundation. Only about 30% of the 14 million Americans who work in manufacturing are women, a study from the National Women’s Law Center noted.

“If we are going to have any hope of replacing all of the retiring baby boomers, we have to get women involved,” Moerchen said.

“It’s a pretty wide gender gap,” Moerchen said, adding that only about three of 35 students in computer-aided machining courses are female.

“The data show that female students are easily intimidated by technology and engineering classes that are traditionally dominated by male students,” Moerchen said.

After researching programs in other states, the Kewaskum teachers said they believed they could create an engineering class specifically for girls that would prepare the students for advanced courses.

via Kewaskum High School launches all-female engineering class.

October 11, 2013 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

Virtual Faculty Communities of Practice to improve instructional practices

Posted to the SIGCSE-Members list — I really like this idea! Our work on DCCE showed that communities of teachers was an effective way of improving teacher’s sense of belonging and desire to improve.  Will it work for faculty?  ASEE is the organization to try!

Greetings SIGCSE,

This is a great opportunity for CS faculty to work with like-minded faculty from across the country to explore and share support for introducing new instructional practices into your classroom.  Please consider this for yourself and pass it on to your colleagues.

Engineering education research has shown that many research-based instructional approaches improve student learning but these have not diffused widely. This is because (1) faculty members find it difficult to acquire the required knowledge and skills by themselves and (2) sustaining the on-going implementation efforts without continued encouragement and support is challenging. This project will explore ways to overcome both obstacles through virtual communities.

ASEE is organizing several web-based faculty communities that will work to develop the group’s understanding of research-based instructional approaches and then support individual members as they implement self-selected new approaches in their classes. We expect participants to be open to this technology-based approach and see themselves as innovators in a new approach to professional development and continuous improvement.
The material below and the project website (http://www.asee.org/asee-vcp) provide more information about these communities and the application process. Questions should be addressed to Rocio Chavela at r.chavela@asee.org.
If you are interested in learning about effective teaching approaches and working with experienced mentors and collaborating colleagues as you begin using these in your classroom, you are encouraged to apply to this program. If you know of others that may be interested, please share this message with them.
Please consider applying for this program and encouraging potentially interested colleagues to apply. Applications are due by Friday, September 13, 2013.
 
———————————– ADDITIONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE PROGRAM ——————————–
Format
Faculty groups, which will effectively become virtual communities of practice (VCP) with 20 to 30 members, will meet weekly at a scheduled time using virtual meeting software during the second half of the Fall 2013 Semester and during the entire Spring 2014 Semester. Each group will be led by two individuals that have implemented research-based approaches for improving student learning, have acquired a reputation for innovation and leadership in their course area, and have completed a series of training sessions to prepare them to lead the virtual communities. Since participants will be expected to begin utilizing some of the new approaches with the help and encouragement of the virtual group, they should be committed to teaching a course in the targeted area during the Spring 2014 Semester.
 
VCP Topics and Meeting Times
This year’s efforts are focusing on required engineering science and design courses that are typically taught in the second and third year in each of the areas listed below.
 
Computer science
Co-leaders are Scott Grissom and Joe Tront
Meeting time is Tuesday at 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EST starting October 29, 2013 and running until December 17, 2013
 
Application Process
Interested individuals should complete the on-line application at https://www.research.net/s/asee-vcp_application_form_cycle2. The application form asks individuals to describe their experience with relevant engineering science courses, to indicate their involvement in education research and development activities, to summarize any classroom experiences where they have tried something different in their classes, and to discuss their reasons for wanting to participate in the VCP.
 
The applicant’s Department Head or Dean needs to complete an on-line recommendation form at https://www.research.net/s/asee-vcp_recommendation_form_cycle2 to indicate plans for having the applicant teach the selected courses in the Spring 2014 Semester and to briefly discuss why participating in the VCP will be important to the applicant.
Since demonstrating that the VCP approach will benefit relatively inexperienced faculty, applicants do not need a substantial record of involvement in education research and development. For this reason, the applicant’s and the Department Head’s or Dean’s statements about the reasons for participating will be particularly important in selecting participants.
 
Application Deadline
Applications are due by Friday, September 13, 2013. The project team will review all applications and select a set of participants that are diverse in their experience, institutional setting, gender, and ethnicity.
 
————————————————–
Scott Grissom
Professor
School of Computing & Info Systems
Grand Valley State University
 

August 20, 2013 at 1:28 am 2 comments

The challenges of integrated engineering education

I spent a couple days at Michigan State University (July 11-12) learning about integrated engineering education. The idea of integrated engineering education is to get students to see how the mathematics and physics (and other requirements) fit into their goals of becoming engineers. In part, it’s a response to students learning calculus here and physical principles there, but having no idea what role they play when it comes to design and solving real engineering problems. (Computer science hasn’t played a significant role in previous experiments in integrated engineering education, but if one were to do it today, you probably would include CS — that’s why I was invited, as someone interested in CS for other disciplines.)  The results of integrated engineering education are positive, including higher retention (a pretty consistent result across all the examples we saw), higher GPA’s (often), and better learning (some data).

But these programs rarely last. A program at U. Massachusetts-Dartmouth is one of the longest running (9 years), but it’s gone through extensive revision — not clear it’s the same program. These are hard programs to get set up. It is an even bigger challenge  to sustain them.

The programs lie across a spectrum of integration. The most intense was a program at Rose-Hulman that lasted for five years. All the core first year engineering courses were combined in a single 12 credit hour course, co-taught by faculty from all the relevant disciplines. That’s tight integration. On the other end is a program at Wright State University, where the engineering faculty established a course on “Engineering Math” that meets Calculus I requirements for Physics, but is all about solving problems (e.g., using real physical units) that involve calculus. The students still take Calculus I, but later. The result is higher retention and students who get the purpose for the mathematics — but at a cost of greater disconnect between Engineering and mathematics. (No math faculty are involved in the Engineering Math course.)

My most significant insight was: The greater the integration, the greater the need for incentives. And the greater the need for the incentives, the higher in the organization you need support. If you just want to set up a single course to help Engineers understand problem-solving with mathematics, you can do that with your department or school, and you only have to provide incentives to a single faculty member each year. If you want to do something across departments, you need greater incentives to keep it going, and you’ll need multiple chairs or deans. If you want a 12 credit hour course that combines four or five disciplines, maybe you need the Provost or President to make it happen and keep it going.

Overall, I wasn’t convinced that integrated engineering education efforts are worth the costs. Are the results that we have merely a Hawthorne effect?  It’s hard to sustain integrated anything in American universities (as Cuban told us in “How Scholars Trumped Teachers”). (Here’s an interesting review of Cuban’s book.) Retention is good and important (especially of women and under-represented students), but if Engineering programs are already over-subscribed (which many in the workshop were), then why improvement retention of students in the first year if there is no space for them in the latter years? Integration probably leads to better learning, but there are deeper American University structural problems to fix first, which would reduce the costs in doing the right things for learning.

July 29, 2013 at 1:41 am 4 comments

Call for proposals on systemic reviews on computer science education

I met Jeff Froyd at the MSU Workshop in Integrated Engineering Education, and he asked me to share this call for a special issue of IEEE Transactions on Education.  The whole notion of a “systemic review” is pretty interesting, and relates to the Blog@CACM post I wrote recently.  His call has detailed and interesting references at the bottom.

Request for Proposals

2015 Special Issue on Systematic Reviews

Overview

The IEEE Transactions on Education solicits proposals for a special issue of systematic reviews on education in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, software engineering, and other fields within the scope of interest of IEEE to be published in 2015. The deadline for 2,000‐word proposals is 9 September 2013. Proposals should be emailed as PDF documents to the Editor‐in‐Chief, Jeffrey E. Froyd, at jefffroyd@ieee.org. Questions about proposals should be directed to the Editor‐in‐ Chief, Jeffrey E. Froyd, at jefffroyd@ieee.org.

Special Issue Timeline

  • 9 September 2013: Interested interdisciplinary, global teams of authors should submit proposals for full papers by 9 September 2013.
  • 14 October 2013: The editorial team for the special issue will review proposals and notify authors of the status of their submission by 14 October 2013.
  • 31 December 2014: For proposals that are accepted, the authors will be asked to prepare manuscripts that will go through the standard review process for the IEEE Transactions on Education in the Scholarship of Integration. Completed draft manuscripts will be due on 31 December 2014. Papers are expected to be between 8000‐10,000 words in length.
  • Xxx – 31 December 2014: Plan (timeline, milestones, activities…) will be collaboratively developed to support manuscript completion by 31 December 2014. Steps in the process of preparing a systematic review include: (i) establishing the research questions, (ii) selecting the databases to be searched and the search strings, (iii), establishing inclusion/exclusion criteria, (iv) selecting articles to be studied, etc. Meetings, in‐person or virtual, will be scheduled to provide support for systematic review methodologies. Meetings will be intended to help develop systematic review expertise across the teams and to improve quality of published systematic reviews.
  • 2015: Manuscripts accepted for publication are expected to be published in 2015.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals for systematic review manuscripts must provide the following sections:

  1. (i)  Contact information and institutional affiliation of the lead author
  2. (ii)  An initial list of the team members who will prepare the systematic review, indicating howthese team members provide requisite expertise and global representation. Given the requirements for systematic reviews, it is expected that a qualified, interdisciplinary team will include one or more individuals with expertise in library sciences, one or more individuals with expertise in synthesizing methodologies (qualitative, quantitative, mixed method, or combinations of the three), and one or more individuals with domain expertisein the proposed content area. Given the need to promote global community in the fields in which ToE publishes, it is expected that a qualified team will represent the diverse global regions that comprise the IEEE.
  3. (iii)  Description of the proposed content area, why a systematic review of education in the proposed content area is timely, why a systematic review will enhance development of the field, and how future initiatives might build on the systematic review.
  4. (iv)  Initial description of the proposed systematic review methodology. The project will provide support to promote development of systematic review methodology across all participating teams. However, demonstration of initial familiarity with systematic review methodology will strengthen a proposal.

Brief Overview of Systematic Review Methodology
Diverse fields are developing systematic review, a study of primary (and other) studies to address a crafted set of questions, as a research methodology in and of itself. With risks of considerable oversimplification, systematic review methodology rests on two basic ideas. First, interdisciplinary systematic review teams can use large databases of journals, conference proceedings, and grey literature that have been constructed to search the literature using keywords. Then, the team systematically evaluates returned items using explicit criteria to identify the set of articles that will be reviewed. The first basic idea provides a transparent, unbiased, replicable process to identify relevant articles. Second, teams can apply synthesizing methodologies that have been developed in the last 50 years to extract trends, patterns, themes, relationships, gaps… from the identified set of articles. Synthesizing methodologies draw from a wide variety of quantitative (e.g., statistical meta‐analysis, network meta‐analysis), qualitative (e.g., meta‐ethnography, content analysis), mixed method approaches, and combinations of the three. Systematic, transparent use of literature search and synthesizing methodologies can produce systematic reviews of the literature that may be seminal contributions to the community that has created the literature. Good introductions to systematic reviews can be found at:

ToE has already established review criteria for the scholarship of integration, the area addressed by the proposed special issue. These review criteria can be found at http://sites.ieee.org/review‐criteria‐toe/.

Examples

This section offers examples of systematic reviews that have been done in STEM education. Generally, topics for these examples are outside topical areas that would be considered for the IEEE Transactions on Education, but they show examples of good practices for some steps in systematic reviews.

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L. Springer, M. E. Stanne and S. S. Donovan, “Effects of small‐group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology: A meta‐analysis.” Review of Educational Research, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 21‐51. 1999 (doi: 10.3102/00346543069001021)

F. B. V. Benitti, “Exploring the educational potential of robotics in schools: A systematic review,” Comput. & Educ., vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 978‐988, 2012

N. Meese, and C. McMahon, ”Knowledge sharing for sustainable development in civil engineering: A systematic review,” AI and Soc., vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 437‐449, 2012

N. Salleh, E. Mendes, Emilia, and J. Grundy, “Empirical studies of pair programming for CS/SE teaching in higher education: A systematic literature review,” IEEE Trans. Softw. Eng., vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 509‐525, 2011

R. M. Tamim, R. M. Bernard, E. Borokhovski, P. C. Abrami, and R. F. Schmid, “What forty years of research says about the impact of technology on learning: A second‐order meta‐analysis and validation study,” Review of Educ. Research, vol. 81, no. 1, pp. 4‐28, 2011

Resources

These resources provide guides to systematic review methodologies:

E. Barnett‐Page, and J. Thomas, “Methods for the synthesis of qualitative research: A critical review,” BMC Medical Research Methodology, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 59, 2009
Abstract:

Background: In recent years, a growing number of methods for synthesising qualitative research have emerged, particularly in relation to health‐related research. There is a need for both researchers and commissioners to be able to distinguish between these methods and to select which method is the most appropriate to their situation.

Discussion: A number of methodological and conceptual links between these methods were identified and explored, while contrasting epistemological positions explained differences in approaches to issues such as quality assessment and extent of iteration. Methods broadly fall into ‘realist’ or ‘idealist’ epistemologies, which partly accounts for these differences.

Summary: Methods for qualitative synthesis vary across a range of dimensions. Commissioners of qualitative syntheses might wish to consider the kind of product they want and select their method – or type of method – accordingly.

M. Borrego, , E.P. Douglas and C.T. Amelink, “Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods in engineering education“ Journal of Eng. Educ., vol. 98, no. 1, pp. 53‐66, 2009
Abstract: The purpose of this research review is to open dialog about quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods in engineering education research. Our position is that no particular method is privileged over any other. Rather, the choice must be driven by the research questions. For each approach we offer a definition, aims, appropriate research questions, evaluation criteria, and examples from the Journal of Engineering Education. Then, we present empirical results from a prestigious international conference on engineering education research. Participants expressed disappointment in the low representation of qualitative studies; nonetheless, there appeared to be a strong preference for quantitative methods, particularly classroom‐based experiments. Given the wide variety of issues still to be explored within engineering education, we expect that quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches will be essential in the future. We encourage readers to further investigate alternate research methods by accessing some of our sources and collaborating across education/social science and engineering disciplinary boundaries.

D.A. Cook and C.P. West, “Conducting systematic reviews in medical education: a stepwise approach,” Medical Education, vol.46, pp. 943‐952, 2012
Abstract:

Objectives: As medical education research continues to proliferate, evidence syntheses will become increasingly important. The purpose of this article is to provide a concise and practical guide to the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews.

Results: (i) Define a focused question addressing the population, intervention, comparison (if any) and outcomes. (ii) Evaluate whether a systematic review is appropriate to answer the question. Systematic and non‐ systematic approaches are complementary; the former summarise research on focused topics and highlight strengths and weaknesses in existing bodies of evidence, whereas the latter integrate research from diverse fields and identify new insights. (iii) Assemble a team and write a study protocol. (iv) Search for eligible studies using multiple databases (MEDLINE alone is insufficient) and other resources (article reference lists, author files, content experts). Expert assistance is helpful. (v) Decide on the inclusion or exclusion of each identified study, ideally in duplicate, using explicitly defined criteria. (vi) Abstract key information (including on study design, participants, intervention and comparison features, and outcomes) for each included article, ideally in duplicate. (vii) Analyse and synthesise the results by narrative or quantitative pooling, investigating heterogeneity, and exploring the validity and assumptions of the review itself. In addition to the seven key steps, the authors provide information on electronic tools to facilitate the review process, practical tips to facilitate the reporting process and an annotated bibliography.

M. Petticrew and H. Roberts, Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006

A. C. Tricco, J. Tetzlaff and D. Moher, “The art and science of knowledge synthesis,” Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, vol. 64, no. 1, pp. 11‐20, 2011
Abstract:

Objectives: To review methods for completing knowledge synthesis.

Study Design and Setting: We discuss how to complete a broad range of knowledge syntheses. Our article is intended as an introductory guide.

Results: Many groups worldwide conduct knowledge syntheses, and some methods are applicable to most reviews. However, variations of these methods are apparent for different types of reviews, such as realist reviews and mixed‐model reviews. Review validity is dependent on the validity of the included primary studies and the review process itself. Steps should be taken to avoid bias in the conduct of knowledge synthesis. Transparency in reporting will help readers assess review validity and applicability, increasing its utility.

Conclusion: Given the magnitude of the literature, the increasing demands on knowledge syntheses teams, and the diversity of approaches, continuing efforts will be important to increase the efficiency, validity, and applicability of systematic reviews. Future research should focus on increasing the uptake of knowledge synthesis, how best to update reviews, the comparability between different types of reviews (eg, rapid vs. comprehensive reviews), and how to prioritize knowledge synthesis topics.

July 22, 2013 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

Off to Michigan State, to talk Education and Engineering, then CSTA Conference for ECEP

I’m going to Michigan State University on Wednesday July 10 through Friday August 12.  On the 10th, I’m visiting with colleagues whom I knew in Education at the University of Michigan (Bob Geier and Joe Krajcik) and giving a brownbag talk.  I’m really looking forward to hanging out with Education folks for the day.  I’ve just learned that Danny Caballero has moved to MSU, so I’m hoping to meet up with him, too. On Thursday and Friday, I’m attending a workshop on integrated engineering education. Since I used to do work like that, and haven’t done much in Engineering Education in years, I thought it would be fun and interesting — something I might want to get involved in again.  Plus, it was a great chance to get back ‘home’ to Michigan.

The day after I get back, we are heading off to Boston and the CSTA Conference in Quincy, Massachusetts.  We are holding an ECEP Day on Sunday July 14, to connect with CSTA Chapter Leaders and Leadership Cohort in the states where we’re working.  On Monday, July 15, I’m just hanging out at the CSTA Conference, so if you’re there, I hope you will stop by the ECEP table and visit!

July 9, 2013 at 1:09 am 1 comment

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