Gathering your scholarly community online: B-EER in a Nutshell!

This blog post highlights opportunities I see for building research capacity and sense of community — for networking and sharing knowledge among academics. We’ve being doing some fun and interesting things in Engineering Education Research (EER) and I’m posting help transfer some of this learning to other subfields of education. 

I’ll summarize what we’ve been doing to build community and share knowledge across the EER community globally. Fun communal learning activities have included small group chats, REEN working meetings, MCAA-UK social events, IFEES GEDC online seminars, and of course, the Big EER Meet Up (B-EER)!

Small group chats

I’ve been learning new things everyday, particularly through text chats with Drs. Inês Direito in London, Lelanie Smith in Pretoria SA, and Carlos Efren Mora in the Canary Islands of Spain.

We’re applying the sorts of knowledge-sharing and group-building techniques discussed in a TU Dublin staff training session yesterday. From a colleague’s comment, I found tips from Arizona State University for helping students build a sense of community. I even passed it along to my partner Aongus as he’s starting a certification course online soon and can benefit from the tips; like me, he enjoys classroom interaction and will miss that studying online.

Inês and lelanie, Carlos and I have been chatting virtually about mutual research interests, teaching and student-engagement techniques, and grants for over a year now. We mentor each other.

REEN collaboration

Our Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN) Board meets online every month so we’d already gotten pretty good at sharing ideas this way. We share video, audio, and text chat using, currently, MS Teams. We put our agenda in Google Docs and make revisions, converting them into minutes, together online as we meet.

I’m proud to serve as the Chair of REEN, which helps bring the global community of engineering education researchers together through symposia, special focus journal publications, and focused events to build knowledge, capacity/agency, and a sense of community.

The Governing Board is responsible for implementing the mission and goals of REEN by providing strategic direction, continuity, and overall leadership. Each representative serves a four-year term. The main commitment is a 1-hour meeting (held online) once a month, and members are asked also to provide a bit of time between monthly meetings for project work such as: supporting the symposium (e.g., reviewing abstracts and papers), development of special focus journal issues, or serving on special-focus ad hoc subcommittees. We currently have a call for two new positions. Please see our official call document.

REEN recently helped organize the B-EER Meet Up, described at the bottom of this post. We see it as a great way to bring our global EER community together and galvanize connections! 

MCAA-UK socials

Being at home more means I’ve had better chance to attend meetings outside Ireland. I’m in the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) and have been attending meetings and online socials of the MCAA Chapter in the UK the past couple months. Leaders of MCAA-UK introduced me to the paper that I used as inspiration for my B-EER coffee chat featured in an earlier post.

Our May 20th online social of the MCAA-UK

IFEES GEDC online seminars

I’ve also attended several of the now-weekly IFEES GEDC online seminars, featuring well-known and highly accomplished scholars in EER. These are big, high-profile events with up to 500 participants each. There are usually people waiting at the “door” to get in after they’ve reached maximum capacity. At the end, a few people get to ask questions, but there’s not much room to interact in this forum. Nevertheless, I’m getting to hear speakers I couldn’t otherwise (during the teaching semester at least), because I wouldn’t be able to travel to them!

A fascinating recent lecture was on “Problem-based Megaprojects” conducted at Aalborg University. The presentation was by Drs. Anette Kolmos and Lykke Brogaard Berte.

B-EER Meet Up

I haven’t actually summarized the outcome of the Bigg EER Meet Up that I announced for registration in early May. So here you go!

We held our first Big EER Meet Up online throughout the day on May 14th, 2020. The event was spearheaded by Professor John Mitchell, a Director of the Centre for Engineering Education at University College London (UCL). Co-sponsors included REEN and other organizations near and dear to my heart — including TU Dublin’s CREATE research group, Virginia Tech, and UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education (CEE) — as well as Aalborg University’s Centre for PBL, Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, the Technological University of Malaysia (UTM), and the University of Western Australia (UWA). You can view introductory information on a previous post.

We put this event together in just two weeks, and 550 people registered! The event included seven keynotes — mostly early career researchers (ECRs) and one emeritus professor — and seven break out sessions. We had close to 250 attend each keynote session, and the breakout (coffee break) sessions ranged from about 35 to 90. One session was still going with 60 people in it two hours later! You can access a compilation of the recorded keynote sessions and abstract of coffee chats on a UCL webpage.

I previously posted a blog about one of the keynotes, on Grit in Engineering.

Below is a screenshot of a super-interesting presentation by Dr. Kerrie Douglas of Purdue University, reporting her research on Student Experience and Social Supports in Online Engineering Courses During COVID-19.

Research on post-COVID student experience by Dr Kerrie Douglas of Purdue University. You can view her presentation at https://youtu.be/eZ6pMFWgIq4

I’d say the event was a big success! Productively informal, well attended, with lots of positive vibe and momentum. This is the type of community I want to build and be part of! Yes, there’s room for critical perspectives, but we truly are about lifting each other and the quality of our work UP, as a way to better serve students and one another.

Prof. John Mitchell believes “our best work comes in the discussions and so this was a deliberate attempt to promote that”. After the event, several early and mid-career research told me this provided an introduction to the EER community, good networking, and ability to attend as they can’t always afford the time and costs of attending EER conferences in person (many have technical conferences to attend and fund as well).

Evidently, this Meet Up format helped a gap by providing a more casual and interactive option, online and at low cost. Thanks so much, UCL, for funding the event!

Dr. Karrie Douglas answering questions following her online presentation.

We’ve decided to keep building the capacity of this community by keeping the Meet Ups rolling.

We now envision hosting a mini Meet Up every 4-6 weeks during Work From Home periods, to be organized primarily by UCL and REEN. I’ve recommended this condensed version be just one “slot” long and that it rotate between the three slots we used previously (starting at 11:30 PM, 11 AM, and 4 PM BST to comfortably involve people in all time zones). I’ve recommended that we hold a Big EER Meet Up every 6-12 months as well.

Mini Meet Ups will likely include 2-3 keynotes with at least half featuring early career researchers, then one mid- to late-career researcher presenting per Meet Up to help draw a bigger audience. 

We’re now planning a mini Meet Up for International Women in Engineering on the 23rd June — an EER session with a focus on diversity in engineering. Stay tuned!

Action for Inclusion in Engineering Education

My closest-colleague, Dr. Inês Direito from University College London’s Centre for Engineering Education, has been working long and hard on a diversity initiative. She spearheaded efforts on the European side to craft “A Call and Pledge for Action” and get it adopted and formally launched by both the European Society of Engineering Education (SEFI) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

ASEE & SEFI Joint Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Pledge for Action

April 2020

As a member of a global engineering community, I pledge to celebrate diversity, create opportunities, and actively support inclusive environments, in which all my students, colleagues, and members of the wider society are welcomed, respected, and valued. I acknowledge that a path with no examination, reflection, and action perpetuates an inequitable status quo. I commit to work collaboratively with all engineering community members and stakeholders to disrupt systemic exclusion and to create a culture where all will thrive.

This statement was approved by the Board of Directors of the European Society for Engineering Education: SEFI on 27 April 2020 and the Board of Directors of the American Society for Engineering Education: ASEE on 23 March 2020.

Many people on both sides of the Atlantic were crucial to the development and adoption of this “ASEE & SEFI Joint Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” but I saw first-hand the dedication, hard work, and perseverance of Dr. Direito from start to finish, as I had the desk next to her at UCL for two years and we still work together on various research projects.

Dr. Susan Walden led the effort on the US side and displayed great resilience as well. I hold Susan in even higher esteem now, having watched the process via Inês. You see, Inês rather recently crossed the threshold from Early Career Researcher (ERC) to Senior Researcher, having gained promotion at UCL last September. Working with a skilled, enthusiastic, kind, and mentoring expert like Susan was great for Inês and an inspiration to behold.

Thank goodness for those who mentor others and help our engineering education research (EER) community flourish!

Writing such a document and getting buy-in from the other co-authors, including several from TU Dublin where I teach engineering, is complex enough. But getting the statement endorsed at the highest levels of SEFI and ASEE is remarkable and requires passion for your cause as well as political fortitude.

I wasn’t directly involved, but I watched the process and lent a supportive ear and I am delighted with the results. I extend my own personal thanks to task force members Lesley Berhan, Sara Clavero, Yvonne Galligan, Anne-Marie Jolly, Eric Specking, and Linda Vanasupa and whose who made direction contributions via SEFI (Gabrielle Orbaek White, Bill Williams, Martin Vigild, Mike Murphy, and Yolande Berbers) and ASEE (Rebecca Bates, Jean Bossart, Karin Jeanne Jensen, Liz Litzler, Tasha Zepherin, Stephanie Farrell, Bevlee Watford, and Stephanie Adams). Inês says that Klara Ferdova from SEFI was an amazing support, as well! Thanks to all who contributed to the development and adoption of this document.

Please read the Statement and take the Pledge:

Image

Architect-cheers! Fully licensed as an Architect

Is that Architect-cheers or Architectures? Today I’m cheering that my updated license has arrived!

With so many moves across ocean and seas, some of my mail never reached me–including an invoice from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation in my home state.

Every two years I pay fees to keep my Architectural Registration current, entitling me to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Every year, I also pay fees to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards to hold a Council Record, which is a national-level endorsement that makes getting registered in additional states easier.

I don’t stamp architectural drawings, so I don’t really *need* to hold a license, but I like to stay current and support the licensing and professional development system. Plus, it’s been nice chatting with the folks at NCARB and VDPOR who assisted me along the way. I’ve always believed that being licensed with up-to-date knowledge makes me a more effective architecture and engineering teacher.

By holding a license in Virginia, I’m allowed to use RA or Registered Architect after my name. By holding a council record, I can use NCARB as well. And then there’s LEED-AP, which indicates I hold a credential in Energy and Environmental Design, also earned through rigorous testing.

In the States, the designation AIA is probably the most widely recognized architecture tag after one’s name, and although I’ve been admitted to the American Institute of Architects, I am not an active, dues-paying member so I can’t use those letters now. The fees add up too fast! It would be great to get Chartered as an Architect over here, through RIAI (Ireland) or RIBA (Britain). As you can see, this is all very complicated. The standards, codes, and construction practices vary so much from one country to the next, that each of these would require additional study, testing, fees, and ongoing country-specific professional development.

To get this little piece of paper from Virginia back in my hands, I needed to complete a series of training modules and tests to show I have current knowledge of best practices in the States. I used downtime over Christmas and the pandemic–along with NCARB monographs–to study:

  • Sustainable Design Part I: Green Building Standards and Certification Systems
  • Sustainable Design Part II: Integrated Design
  • Sustainable Design Part V: Trends in the Profession, Performance, and Practice
  • Accommodations for Seniors
  • The Hidden Risk of Green Buildings
  • Building Design and Security
  • Building Envelopes Part I: History and Types
  • Barrier-Free Design and the 2010 ADA Standards
  • Improving Building Performance Part I: Building Performance and Post Occupancy
  • Improving Building Performance Part II: Planning, Conducting, & Applying the POE

Perhaps due to COVID it took a month for the envelope I sent to Virginia with the reinstatement application, check, and proof of CPD to arrive at the office in Richmond. So slow, despite the fact I paid €8.70 (nearly $10) to send registered mail. In the meantime, I’d given up hope, called and found them all in the office and fully caught up with all incoming mail, so I paid by credit card using old-fangled fax technology. Yep, Irish mail is slow, but US use of fax and paper check indicates banking technologies could stand to be updated. The envelope arrive a couple days later, and the folks at Virginia DPOR very conscientiously mailed my paper check back to me. I got it a week ago.

Today, I discovered a new license in my postbox, complete with correct and current address. I’m delighted to have it in safely hand!

A new wave in conferences: Green and Inclusive via online options

This blog post shares ideas from a breakout “coffee chat” at the May 14th 2020 Big EER Meet Up, hosted by UCL with sponsors including REEN and TU Dublin. Our breakout session asked: Can we make future conferences greener and more equitable by providing online participation options?

It may be of use to people planning conferences for engineering education, engineering education research (EER), and beyond.

Title slide listing speakers for the coffee chat.

Shannon Chance initiated this coffee chat due to her concern for reducing the environmental impacts of conference attendance. Being part of the Marie Curie network (MCAA-UK) had made her aware of the scholarly paper on “Evaluating features of scientific conferences: A call for improvements” by Sarabipour et al (2020). This paper formed the basis of discussion. Shannon feels particularly compelled to develop viable solutions as she is the Chair of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN) that coordinates the bi-annual Research in Engineering Education Symposium (REES). REES 2021 is to be held in Perth, and REES 2023 is scheduled for Hubli, India. Although Shannon is passionate about bringing the global community of engineering education researchers together and helping build EER capacity, she’s concerned that so few can be involved in REES due to cost and distance. She recognizes economic inequality of access to the physical event as well as the environmental toll related to academic travel.

This coffee chat was intended to be informal. It was facilitated by:

  • Dr. Shannon Chance – Chair of REEN, from TU Dublin and UCL
  • Dr. Valquíria Villas-Boas – REEN Board Member, from the Universidade de Caxias do Sul
  • Dr. Inês Direito, from University College London
  • Dr. Carlos Efrén Mora from Universidad de La Laguna

The overall event was globally supported and attended. This graphic lists the co-sponsoring organizations:

Logos.jpg
 (Intense)

The session abstract explained:

Through informal discussion, participants will share experiences of online conference participation, its benefits and drawbacks, and explore how non-pandemic EER conferences could adapt to include rich and rewarding participation for those who can’t physically attend. We will explore recommendations recently published by Sarabipour et al (2020) who believe “Many meetings could still be improved significantly in terms of diversity, inclusivity, promoting early career researcher (ECR) networking and career development, venue accessibility, and more importantly, reducing the meetings’ carbon footprint.” This non-reviewed paper examined “over 260 national and international academic meetings in various disciplines for features of inclusivity and sustainability” and its authors “propose solutions to make conferences more modern, effective, equitable and intellectually productive for the research community and environmentally sustainable for our planet.” With such enthusiastic participation in recent online EER seminars, could EER possible lead the way?

Several resources are available for attendees. Anyone with interest can access them:

A very diverse group attended this coffee chat. We briefly describing introduced ourselves as, for instance:

  • A teacher of engineers
  • I like to work in teams
  • Was on the organizing committee for a conference transitioned to virtual last month
  • I am planning/organizing a conference in pre-college engineering
  • An architect
  • I’m current president of the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED) where I found out how passionate I’m about Engineering Education 🙂
  • I consider myself a citizen of the world. I have lived in 4 countries and 7 different cities, and my family has 3 different nationalities.
We had about 17 attendees in all–good turn out for such a serious topic.

We started by asking participants to take a minute to type into the chat about an enjoyable experience you’ve had in EER virtual learning recently, or provide a short reflection about being a “virtual” or a “face-to-face” person.

  • Virtual conferences are great for being able to attend with less time & money commitment. However, we need better ways to meet people at virtual conferences.
  • I love teaching on a chalkboard! I miss being in the classroom with my students. I am enjoying the interactions that I have with students during virtual lectures, but it feels like the balance of control is much more strongly with me, and I have to remember to give students space to contribute the disruptions that are more natural in the classroom.
  • I loved this [online Big EER] conference!
  • Easy access to EER community across the world. I have loved attending session that are open ended questions about how we navigate online teaching and learning, and everyone can share what they have been doing.
  • I find that being a virtual participant is more environmentally friendly by avoiding air travel. it would also be easier to attend more events than I would in person.
  • Current time is forcing us to adapt quite rapidly to the virtual context, it is important to make the most out of this experience.
  • I prefer being a face to face person; I am more of a “face-to-face” person because I like to see people’s reactions and smiles.
  • I’ve enjoyed getting together with architects and engineers for informal chat.
  • I participated od EDUCON 2020 and I had a great experience participating in workshops.
  • I’ve had more productive and enjoyable small group meetings with my pastoral supervises since lockdown – better than when they are physically squashed together in my quite small office.
  • I enjoyed getting to know a larger group of people (and new topics) in EER that otherwise it would not be possible.
  • I enjoyed being able to meet persons from very different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Many of the most positive and engaging online experiences I have had, have been since lockdown.
  • It’s been nice to travel the world from the comfort of my house while enjoying engineering education research.
  • I’ve been very impressed with how smoothly it has run, and how easy to participate.
  • During this Corona crisis period I have had the opportunity to attend conferences, webinars that I would not have been able to attend in person in a normal period.
  • Last Dec the SEFi working group on ethics organized a two day workshop that integrated online participants in all sessions: online presentations from the team of Virginia Tech (Diana Bairaktarova & Tom Sealy), Q&As taking questions from online participants, mixed breakout tables with both in person and online participants. The workshop had 60% in person participants 40% online participants.
  • Easy access to EER community across the world. I have loved attending session that are open ended questions about how we navigate online teaching and learning and everyone can share what they have been doing.
  • This experience today has been great – lovely to feel connected to people and conversations that I would normally be far away from.
  • Also have been thankful for the opportunity to attend conferences/meetings that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to due to my reluctance to be away from home.
  • Yes, you can “attend” many more conferences in the same time and less expense.
  • Also much more awake for conference sessions (sometimes getting a decent night’s sleep can be difficult in hotel rooms).
  • I think though that it is harder to build the connection with people who you don’t already “know”.
  • There was a webinar by the folks who ran LAK 20 online on two weeks’ notice. The policy was to have speakers present at a time appropriate to their timezone and upload immediately afterwards so that people in other timezones could see the talk.
  • And somehow interacting with my normal face-to-face colleagues via online seems almost natural – the connectivity is there.

Then, Shannon presented ideas from Sarabipour et al (2020), who say:

Science is a global endeavour and we as scientists have the responsibility to make conferences more affordable, environmentally sustainable, and accessible to researchers constrained by geographical location, economics, personal circumstances or visa restrictions.

Sarabipour et al (2020)

There’s a need to modernize and to improve: 

  • Diversity
  • Inclusivity
  • Career development and networking, especially for early career researchers (ECRs) 
  • Venue accessibility
  • Environmental impact, carbon footprint (Sarabipour et al, 2020)

Many can’t travel, for example:

  • Early-career researchers
  • Researchers from young labs and low- to middle-income countries 
  • Junior principal investigators (Sarabipour et al, 2020)


There is inequitable access regarding:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Health and mobility
  • Geographical backgrounds
  • Career stage (Sarabipour et al, 2020)

Geographical inequity:

  • Visa inequity
Maps in the paper by Sarabipour et al (2020) provide a visual comparison of Germany, Iran, Argentina, and South Africa–green you can go without a visa, grey you must purchase a visa.
  • Travel requires resources: time, physical exertion, and family management, as well as funding.
  • “The less wealthy subsidize the expenses of the speakers, who usually attend scientific meetings free of charge.”
  • Registration fees can be steep and “Large conferences are often hosted in expensive cities as there are many accommodation options for large crowds, while conferences in more affordable locations are typically smaller in size.” Food often costs more there, too!
  • “Women and researchers from racial and ethnic groups, who are under-represented in various fields, are the least likely to be offered opportunities to speak at meetings in their discipline”.
  • “The experience of presenting at meetings for early career researchers (ECRs) and minorities who attend has not improved appreciably”.
  • Digital conferences and discussion forums can, in fact, serve to assist communication between early career and senior researchers since writing a comment or question in a forum can feel less intimidating than approaching an established scholar in person.” (Sarabipour et al, 2020)

Environmental Toll: CO2 emissions

  • “Global aviation as a country ranks among the top 10 emitters”
  • “Conference attendance represents 35% of a researcher’s footprint
This was one of four maps provided in Sarabipour et al (2020). For one person, “Flying from Perth, Australia to London, United Kingdom and back for the annual Immuno-Oncology summit 2020 generated about 3,153 kg (3.47 tons) of CO2. There are 109 countries where the average person produces less CO2 in a year”. It’s equal to a full year’s emissions of all the brown areas on this map. This is the same path that Inês and I plan to take to Perth if we are lucky enough to attend REES 2021.

Participants commented:

  • This financial impact will be exacerbated in the current economic climate.
  • That’s a great point @Shannon. We’re teaching Sustainable Development Goals, but attending conferences can have a huge negative impact.

A participant from the US queried:

  • The “environmental impact” from a single conference is miniscule.
  • Of course, this assumes that you believe that CO2 emissions are harmful …
  • We need a better way to “meet” people in online venues.

The last point gained support from other participants:

  • Agree – it’s difficult to do accidental networking/meeting in online conferences – tend to stick to talking to people you already know/recognise.
  • I agree.
  • Absolutely. Many interesting conversations/networking happens in less structured settings – coffee breaks, etc. How can we ‘create’ these opportunities online?

Shannon shared some Recommendations from Sarabipour et al (2020) that could apply in EER:

  • Replace in-person national and international meetings with more ground-based travel to regional meetings
  • Hold small and large meetings fully online or connect regional conference hubs digitally by live-streaming the conference [possibility for REES 2021+EERN-UK/IE]
  • Make research results more accessible globally via virtual access [eg, REEN database] and pre-printing
  • Foster digital networking by investing in relevant, immersive and interactive experiences [do more of these]
  • At physical conferences:
    • Stop generating junk (paper, souvenirs, badges)
    • Organize well-planned networking activities
    • Include public outreach & environmental clean-up (Sarabipour et al, 2020)
Graphic from Sarabipour et al (2020) of key considerations to take into account in planning any conference.

Next we discussed a question posed by Val: Why and how would making EER conferences greener impact you as an EER researcher?

  • Possibility to attend conferences via online would be very helpful for me as a researcher from SA without lots of funds – I would love to attend REEN 2021 but I don’t see how I’ll afford it.
  • Better access to far away and more conferences.
  • It would allow me to attend more conferences, since I wouldn’t normally fly to more than one conference per year for environmental considerations (would prefer not to fly at all).
  • Overall it would make easier to attend conferences if they are virtual. But also, it is easier to make connections in person.
  • Positive impact: more opportunities to attend events and meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise; ‘feel good’ reducing carbon footprint. Negative impact: human interactions are more challenging online.
  • With online conferences might see more female researchers participating, especially mothers with young kids who might find it difficult going away for a longer period of time.
  • I have never been to a REEN conference due to child care considerations, but I would definitely engage online.
  • Online conferences are less disruptive to teaching schedules – you can conduct your teaching and dip in and out of sessions.
  • Sometimes it’s difficult to physically travel to a conference fitting it in around teaching commitments.
  • Is it easier now to justify virtual conferences and meetings? Now we need to do it due to the Covid.
  • But if we want to build networks we have to do that intentionally.
  • I would like for online events to have ‘online dinners’ ‘online coffee breakout rooms’ where people could chat by video in an informal manner or to continue the discussion following a talk.
  • I suspect online conferences would encourage me to take a “chance” on hearing talks from people/projects that I was not aware of before.
  • I think that having online events makes it possible to design smaller, more frequent gatherings rather than trying to do mega-events.
  • When I was in Australia for a year, they told me how much time it took to get anywhere!
  • Some thoughts here on ‘virtual socialising’ at a virtual conference here http://www.parncutt.org/virtualsocializing.html
  • I am certainly more interested in attending a one day event online than I would be to attend a weeklong online event.
  • Totally agree with [above comment]! ASEE, for example, can be overwhelming. The sessions you want to attend have limited places. The colleagues you want to reach/get in touch with are difficult to find in the crowd!
  • I think virtual conferences actually make the physical conference more productive – you can read someone’s research, interact with them online, and if there is traction, you can meet in a physical conference and this will be more productive as you already know each other.
  • Totally agree – mix of virtual & physical is ideal.
  • Yes!
  • I had a glass of wine before talking to Eric Mazur 🙂

Next we discussed the question: How could online participation options work in EER?

  • Can do online collaborative workshops with colleagues at different institutions easily. Definitely easier to attend than in real life but would be my personal preferences to have a hybrid somehow – but unsure if I am at a conference if I would be interested in doing the online version of that….
  • Maybe maintain a certain topic coffee break every x weeks. This way we can meet people with the same topic interests. (Like group writing meetings.)
  • You have to be much more strategic in designing interactions – you just can’t have as many talks in a day, or such quick turnaround between talks, as you would in a physical conference. Large amounts of parallel sessions would be disastrous, I think. Today was a good model – multiple time zones, and everyone speaking was a keynote.
  • The same way works face to face.
  • Combination of keynote sessions, workshops, and less structured formal sessions. Other idea would be to provide the option to join ‘interest’ groups.
  • Would be nice if live streaming/recording of sessions would become common practice. Enabling online participation for in-person conferences. For conferences which are solely online based, including online informal sessions.
  • I went to REES in Bogota, 2017. It was a great experience. The sessions were very interactive. Very different from those conferences where you have 10 minutes to present your paper, nobody asks you a question and that is the end. I think that the way the sessions were run could be done virtually too.
  • Another random idea I would like to share: There are conference apps (Whova at https://whova.com/virtual-conference-platform/, Conference4Me) that have networking features (you can meet other attendees with similar interests). This could easily be extended to online conferences. Also, these apps could be extended to accommodate attending multiple conferences at one time, so you could make up a personal schedule of events from both conferences.
  • Haven’t been to REES either – distance was the reason.
  • I think we need to add ‘bring your own drink session’ to these online events!
    • 🙂
    • BoD
    • Well… this event was, after all, called BEER 😉
    • I agree with you Ines. Also if there were options for people to set up their own private meet-ups within the conference software – just as we would do when we form small groups during tea breaks.
  • Actually the REES format forces you to engage. Perhaps this could be a feature that can be built into an online session.
  • It’s also good to share recordings later – many colleagues couldn’t join due to timezones.
  • If you have a gap between the session and discussion, you might lose people.
  • Based on the number of online attendants today, there is a real need for this type of events.

Shannon posed ideas of holding smaller, regional conferences in alignment to share resources and conversation virtually, for instance:

  • The winter meeting of EERN-UK & Ireland could be aligned with REES 2021 scheduled for December 5-8 in Perth.
  • REES 2021 could broadcast some presentations and virtual attendees (such as those gathered on another site, or in their own homes) could submit questions using, perhaps, Padlet as implemented successfully at REES 2019 in Cape Town.
    • Another alternative to Padlet is Jamboard.
    • Agreed!! I was thinking of Padlet yesterday!
    • @shannon, I agree totally
    • Shannon, its a good idea, I am thinking of two or more research groups in different places meeting, individually, and then sharing their discussions with others.

Shannon noted that we need to implement sliding scales for registration fee, or somehow recognize that people from lower-income countries can’t access many of our events physically. Comments on that included:

  • The conferences that still have big fees are those run by societies that are trying to support their ongoing expenses.  I have seen major conferences where the fee is as low as $30.
  • I’m attending an audio conference coming up virtually but the fee is still $175. Not sure why.
  • Educon2020 had different fees for people from low income countries.
  • ASEE, for example, makes a lot of money at the annual conference to support their headquarters and staff.  Despite the $500 registration fee, they are still taking a hit to their sustaining fund.

By audio, we noted that conferences that had to quickly shift online had made payments out, that would be lost.

  • That point about sunk costs is a good one. The conferences that have paid a lot of up-front fees are mostly this spring and summer. Moving into (northern) autumn, we should see some of the fees come down.
  • Speaking of broadening participation, a virtual conference is a great way to get your students into the academic community at an earlier stage in their education.

One participant said she was new to EER and, in attending this Big EER Meet Up, found this academic community very welcoming. She said she felt much more welcome that in her home/technical discipline. She asked what our experiences were.

  • Shannon described her transition from architecture (teaching in the States) to engineering education in Europe after she attended SEFI 2012 and experienced a very warm welcome.
  • @shannon, I agree with you. I am a physicist and EER community is much, much more receptive than the Physics community.
  • Agreed, also more receptive than Aerospace. Feels like a real community. Inclusive 🙂

The session lasted 1.25 hours, and it drew to a close, participants added:  

  • Great discussions everyone – sorry I can’t stay much longer (it’s supper time in this household) – looking forward to ongoing discussion about moving online!
  • I need to leave now, this was a good conversation. Thank you to everyone for organising and participating.
  • I will also ditch… fake SA winters are hard work! Thanks Shannon, Inês and Carlos 🙂
  • What a great day, and final session. Take care everyone.
    • Bye Diana! Great work!
    • Bye Diana. It was great to see you. And what a fantastic presentation!
    • Thank you ladies! hope we can meet soon. SEFI was also moved online this year.
    • I know. Very sad about that.
  • Diana asked: Why is it so difficult to close this meeting? I enjoyed it too much! If you organize any events or online talks including ethics, drop me an email please so I can include them in the SEFI newsletter!

Persistence and Passion: Do engineering students have GRIT?

My colleague and co-author, Dr. Inês Direito presented findings last week, of a systematic review we did with Manis Malik on how grit is being researched in engineering education. Inês culminated the line up of seven online keynotes for the Big EER Meet Up, held May 14th.

The title of the paper she presented is “The study of grit in engineering education research: A systematic literature review” and we paid upfront to allow you to download the article free of change.

Grit is defined as having two components–perseverance and passion. In the study Inês reported, we assessed the research design, results, and findings reported in 31 publications. All but two of these were conference papers; other two were journal articles. This in itself indicates the study of grit is relatively new in EER (engineering education research). EER studies to date suggest that perseverance is important for studying engineering, but they haven’t had much to say about the element of passion. Is this a problem of the instruments used to measure grit? Is it specific to engineering? Grit is a domain general construct, and perhaps the construct doesn’t exactly fit the engineering domain? Or, is passion not actually a component you can separate from persistence? These things are not yet known. Our paper explores such questions and makes recommendations for how EER scholars should report their work to allow cross-study comparisons and pooling of knowledge.

About 200 people from all around the globe tuned in to hear Inês’ presentation and ask questions afterward. The audience was lively and attentive as you can see from this screenshot:

Some attendees of the Big EER Meet Up on May 14th.

I was delighted with the clarity of Inês’ explanations. She has expanded the findings further beyond what we published and she is continuing to build knowledge and understanding of the topic. Thus, even if you read the paper, you’ll want to watch the video, too. Perhaps you’ll even want to cite both in your future work, if you have interest in grit?

Part of what impresses me, it that Inês is so effectively drawing from her PhD studies in Psychology to inform the way she studies and explains Grit. Inés pre-recorded the presentations and then answered questions live, and you can watch the presentation by clicking below:

The other six keynote presentations from the Big EER Meet Up are also available to view: https://sway.office.com/cNUsuiNUObg2SQNx?ref=Link. And again, the link to the paper on grit in EER is: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03043797.2019.1688256

Well done, Inês! I’m so fortunate to collaborate with and learn from you!

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Shannon and Inês at UCL

My global network of architects

As mentioned in my last post, the change of pace caused by the pandemic has had some silver linings – I’ve gotten better connected with global communities discussing and influencing architecture and construction and how we teach it. In this post, I’ll discuss architectural highlights of the past few weeks.

Pivot to Online learning with the ACSA

On May 7th, I was part of the online discussion series “Pivot to Online Learning” being hosted by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) across North America. This organization has an odd name, but is a rough equivalent of the Engineers Professors Council in the UK.

The topic of the night was “New Possibilities for 1st Year Design Studio.” Video of the event is available online and you can also download the chat (by clicking here).

As the evening’s lead facilitator, Brad Grant, explained in the session’s abstract, “1st Year Design Studio is an especially challenging class to shift from the traditional teaching environment to remote and online teaching.  Introducing the design process, skill building and studio culture to beginning students remotely requires us to transform our traditional teaching practices in novel and in a variety of ways. In this session we will discuss and look to the ways used and imagined to make this leap from the physical studio setting to the online setting for the 1st year design curriculum.”

The ASCA session was 90 minutes long and we had 100 participants the entire time — the maximum number the Zoom room would hold! In fact, attendees started logging in and sharing ideas up to half an hour before the official start, and the ACSA organizers were hard pressed to wrap up after 90 minutes.

Participants were really jazzed up about sharing ideas. I was, too, and it was 2 AM Dublin time when we finished! It was truly a dialogue among peers, following very short presentations by:

  • Bradford Grant, Professor, Howard University
  • Kristina Crenshaw, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Howard University
  • Dr. Shannon Chance, Lecturer and Programme Chair, Technological University Dublin
  • Margarida Yin, Lecturer, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
  • Theophile Ngargmeni, 1st year student, Howard University

This was an amazing experience for me. The 100 participants included so many of my past teachers and teaching colleagues. On the screen above, you can see a few — Brad Grant, Carmina Sanchez, and Ronald Kloster who I taught with at Hampton University. Mark Blizard and Shelly Martin who taught me at Virginia Tech. Andrew Chin, who I’ve been in contact with ever since I chaired the 20th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student at Hampton University in 2004. So many other familiar faces and names were in the audience — Steven Temple, Bob Dunay, Jori Erdman, Norma Blizard….

It was touching to be in a virtual room full of people who have shaped my life. As I told them, one of my biggest passions in life is Second Year Architecture. I don’t get to teach it these days, and I miss it! Those couple hours are forever in my memory. A true honor and privledge.

New topics are being explored weekly via this ACSA forum. You can view plans and schedules on the ACSA web page for the “Pivot to Online Learning” DISCUSSION SESSIONS + VIDEOS.

Architectural Engineering curriculum design

Over the past months, I’ve also been working on a project with University College London, where we’re designing two new engineering programs — one in architectural engineering and a second in electrical engineering. Our curriculum development team is coming together and we’ve started meeting fortnightly (that’s every other week for those of us who speak American English!). I’m currently focused on designing the AE.1.1 “Introduction to Architecture, Environment and Construction” laboratory module. The curriculum is for a new university in Cairo, Egypt.

NAAB service and NCARB studies

Just before the lockdown, I did a little work for the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), reviewing a university’s proposal to modify its course requirements. Serving the NAAB on visiting teams as well as smaller projects like this keeps me up-to-date with policies and procedures surrounding accreditation of architecture programs in North America and beyond (via substantial equivalency).

The lockdown has provide they type of slowing down I needed to wrap up my periodic Continuing Professional Development as an Architect as well. Although I constantly attend architecture programs and lectures, the Commonwealth of Virginia requires Registered Architects to complete learning units structured and monitored for quality in very specific ways. This isn’t so easy to achieve while living in Europe.

The easy way to earn CDP units is to attend big conference and check in at the sessions. I’d hoped to attend the AIA Europe conferences this year in Porto or Cork, but the pandemic put those plans on hold. Instead, I completed over 16 hours of study using monographs from NCARB (the National Architectural Accrediting Board) and completing online tests.

The NCARB short monographs are good quality, but the tests leave something to be desired — they don’t really assess understanding of critical concepts. Rather they often test on nit-picky wordings using multiple choice designs. But I know well that writing test questions requires skill — skill I’ve learned slowly and deliberately over time. In writing assessment instruments now, I seek to help students lock their new understandings into place as they reflect upon, write about, or calculate answers. A test, if well composed, becomes a mechanism for more robust learning.

By the end of this testing experience, I was frustrated enough that I emailed NCARB my concerns — they agreed with my assessment and fixed both problems I’d flagged. They even asked me to let them know about issued I’d found in other tests I’d taken. So now, I need to dig through my notes and send them info to help fix a couple other items.

Fulbright birthday call

In the days just after I’d completed architectural license, I attended my first AIA (American Institute of Architects) convention in LA alongside Tarrah Beebe who provided me a place to stay. I’d met Tarrah at an accreditation visit to USC, the University of Southern California. She was representing the student voice as a student leader. I told her about the Fulbright-Hays programm I was planning — bringing 25 architecture students from the USA to Tanzania to study for five weeks. She was enthusiastic, and asked her new employer for a delayed start date.

Tarrah had a birthday this past Sunday, and she invited five of us from that trip to an online birthday party. Zoom was down, but Facebook Messenger did the trick! As we are a global group of architects, Tarrah had to dial in at 7AM Pacific time. It was 3 PM Dublin time, so I tuned in from Sandymount after cycling to the far edge of my 5km radius, the extent to which we’re allowed from home for exercise. It was overcast and a bit cool outside, but I needed some sun and weekends afford the time!

Round-the-world Birthday Celebration with: Tarrah in LA; Shannon in Dublin, Ireland; Donald in Brooklyn, NY; Violet in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Thomas in Bangkok, Thailand.

Why so early a call for Tarrah? You see, our colleague Thomas A. Allen, AIA, MSRE, LEED AP is currently over in Bangkok, Thailand. He’d earned a travel Fellowship from the University of California and has been able to set himself up working as an architect from a laptop. Today he’s able to serve his existing clients from anywhere in the world, and his client base is growing. He doesn’t expect to go home anytime soon. In fact, he’s waiting for the borders of Australia to re-open; in the meantime he may well visit Singapore or Malaysia.

The lovely and talented architect Violet Mafuwe tuned in from Dar es Salaam. Violet recently made a week-long series of posts on @beyondthebuilt on Instagram. She is the Creative Designs Director at Space Consult Architects in Tanzania.

A photo of Violet with students, showing them her project for a bank. She works daily on site 3D (interior and outside). The project will be completed late this year (2020).

Several of the birthday participants have been featured on Instagram’s @beyondthebuilt, including Tarrah and Thomas. In one of her posts, Tarrah wrote:

The experience that I am most grateful for was a 5 week long Fulbright-Hayes trip to Dar Es Salaam. I was asked to apply in my last semester of grad school by @shanchan7 and I said no, that I had just accepted my job at @kfalosangeles. I couldn’t even locate Tz on a map. Then a little voice told me I needed to do this.
Along with architecture students mainly from Kansas State and Hampton University, I got on that plane, knowing no one with no idea what to expect.
Our project was to work with Tanzanian architecture students at Ardhi University to come up with a vision of the informal settlement of Keko Magurumbasi. This settlement was slated for demolition and redevelopment. We were trying to help the residents show the government that it was a better option to provide infrastructure to what was already there rather than rebuild from scratch.
Besides the incredible experience of working with students from Tanzania, the collaboration among American students was a complex and powerful experience as well. There were such valuable lessons in urban design but also race, tolerance, diversity, and above all, listening.
I am still friends with many people from this trip, American and Tanzanian. One of my Tanzanian friends @vaimafuwe even came to the US to visit me! I have been back to Tanzania a few times since then, which I will get into in my second Tz post. Every time I get off the plane, I feel a little bit of home.
So I can say, hands down, this trip changed my life.

Tarrah posted many photos, including the flier I’d made to publicize the trip:

Image may contain: 1 person, text and outdoor

Another smiling face on our call, Donald Roman, is Project Manager at LIGHTING WORKSHOP INC. in Brooklyn, NY. Donald and his wife, Fabiola, were featured in the New York Times for their design flair. Donald was my student at Hampton University and addition to traveling to Tanzania on this program, we spent a lot of time together during his five years at Hampton University. These days Donald specializes in lighting design and business is booming, despite the pandemic.

<img src="https://static01.nyt.com/images/2013/11/03/realestate/03HUNT5_SPAN/03-Hunt-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale&quot; alt="<strong>The Buyers
Photo of Fabiola and Donald Roman taken by David Payr and published in The New York Times in 2013.

Though not in the snapshot above, our friend Kelly Thacker also joined the birthday call for a few minutes, dialing in from a car in Detroit, with the help of her sister who she was driving to the airport. Kelly is Associate Director Housing Operations at Wayne State University; she wasn’t studying architecture when we travelled to Tanzania but was learning to support students via university programs. In 2005, Kelly was working on her MSc in Counseling and Student Development, and she completed a PhD in the subject in 2012.

It was a great experience for us all — the trip and the birthday call — and we hope for a repeat soon!

Photo of the US and Tanzanian students and teachers together in 2005, visiting Bagamoyo. Kelly and Tarrah are center front. I’m second from the right. Donald is top row, third from the right, and Thomas it the top row, second from the left. Our photo is missing Violet, though she was with us that day.

TU Dublin leading the way in BIM Collaboration

The change of pace caused by the pandemic has had some silver linings–I’ve gotten better connected with global communities discussing and influencing architecture and construction and how we teach it. In this blog post, I’ll share work by my colleagues at TU Dublin who strive to support the Irish Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector via research and educational programs.

Soon after our university buildings shut down on March 12th, all teaching went online. The transition was seamless for my BIM colleagues, and the tools that enabled this transition can be of great help to people working all across the AEC sector, in Ireland and beyond. On April 23, my BIM colleagues hosted a webinar to explain how they accomplished such a quick shift.

BIM stands for “Building Information Modelling” and the value of BIM is heightened coordination of construction projects across their life–from design to construction to operations and maintenance. Using BIM well can help diverse players share knowledge and check for conflicts as a design goes from concept into design development and then construction, and eventually handover to clients and use by the community.

In this April 23 event, Kevin Furlong explained how he and his colleagues Emma Hayes and Barry McAuley shifted their collaborative BIM modules online. With just two hours notice on March 12, they went from face-to-face delivery to delivery entirely online, using Autodesk 360 tools. They had set up the module using Autodesk 360 so the students could learn to use these tools to communicate efficiently and effectively while delivering integrated design proposals in teams. The set up helps people in industry collaborate across fields (architecture, multiple types of engineering, construction, and even building operations and facilities management) and phases of the design-and-construction process.

I found the slide below particularly useful. It shows a timeline of a student team’s overall project. Each student gets a separate line, and the dots show where each has uploaded content, such as a revised model, for the other students on the team to use. By sharing what they are doing, they have a system for coordinating various design aspects and testing for clashes and conflicts.

The webinar includes a presentation by Dr. Barry McAuley, who summarizes using Model Coordination within BIM 360 for clash detection, as well as BIM 360 Cost Management and BIM 360 Plan, and also provides an overview of how Field Management can be used to generate issues and checklists even via mobile apps.

Local practitioner Emma Hayes, along with experts from Autodesk, Daniel Wood and Stuart Tanfield, provided additional insight during the question and answer session.

The title of the webinar is “Moving design teams to remote working and online collaboration” and you can watch it online.

Attending this webinar reminded me of the crucial role TU Dublin is playing at a national scale–helping the Irish construction industry benefit from the efficiencies of BIM. Indeed, making this resource is a form of leadership beyond our country, since now anyone can view and benefit from it.

I was immensely proud of my colleagues Kevin and Barry for showing others how to use these resources. The tips and insights they shared can help others trying to become more effective at collaborating in the BIM space.

The BIM team at TU Dublin is also helping generate valuable new knowledge in the form of research and has been sharing their findings with others via conference and journal papers with a strong focus on BIM.

Dr. Barry McAuley recently identified 71 BIM-focused publications released over the last 5 years by folks at TU Dublin. I’ve provided an alphabetized list below, and you should be able to locate the full texts using TU Dublin’s Arrow repository: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/

Adesi, M, Murphy, R & Kehily, D (2018) The role of Digitisation in the Strategic Planning Process of Irish Quantity Surveying(QS) Practices In: Gorse, C and Neilson, CJ (Eds) Proceedings of the 34th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3-5 September, 2018, Belfast UK, 250-259.
Adesi, M, Murphy, R & Kehily, D (2018) The strategy process of irish quantity surveying firms operating within a turbulent business environment, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, ARCOM 2019 – Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference, Pages 791-799
Adesi, M., Murphy, R., and Kehily, D. (2018). Information Technology (IT) for Strategy Formulation in Irish Quantity surveying Firms: A Literature Review. Presented at RICS COBRA 2018 Conference, RICS HQ, London, UK 23-24 April 2018
Behan, A. et al (2015). Cultural Change through BIM: Driving Lean Transformation in Education. CITA BIM Gathering 2015, November 12th -13th.
Behan, A., Murray, H. & Argue, J. “Linking Geospatial Engineering into Collaborative Multidisciplinary BIM Projects – an Educational Perspective” Proceedings CitA BIM Gathering. 2017, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland, Nov 23rd – 24th. doi:10.21427/09j7-dr06
Carroll, P. and McAuley, B. (2017) Establishing the key pillars of innovation required to execute a successful BIM strategy within a Construction SME in Ireland, Proceedings of the 3rd CitA BIM Gathering, Dublin, 23rd – 24th November, 2017, pp 84-91
Carswell, J. et al. (2015) Design and Development of Personal GeoServices for Universities in PopovV. ich et al. (eds.), Information Fusion and Geographic Information Systems (IF&GIS’ 2015), Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography, Switzerland :Springer International Publishing . DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-16667-4_1
Chenaux, A., Murphy, M., Keenaghan, G., Jenkins, J., McGovern, E., Pavia, S.: Combining a Virtual Learning Tool and Onsite Study Visits of Four Conservation Sites in Europe. XXIII CIPA Symposium, 2011.
Conway, Colin j.; Keane, Colin; McCarthy, McCarthy; Ahern, Ciara; and Behan, Avril (2014) “Leveraging Lean in construction: A case study of a BIM-based HVAC manufacturing process,” SDAR* Journal of Sustainable Design & Applied Research: Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 2.
Deegan, K. & Mathews, M. (2017)BIM: Building Information Management (not Modelling), CitA BIM Gathering 2017, Croke Park, November 23rd & 24th.
Dore , C., Murphy, M., McCarthy, S., Brechin, F., Casidy, C., & Dirix, E. (2015) Structural Simulations and Conservation Analysis -Historic Building Information Model (HBIM)The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XL-5/W4, 2015 3D Virtual Reconstruction and Visualization of Complex Architectures, 25-27 February 2015, Avila, Spain
Dore, C. & Murphy, M. (2017). Current state of the art historic building information modelling. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XLII-2/W5, 2017, 26th International CIPA Symposium 2017, 28 August–01 September 2017, Ottawa, Canada. doi:10.5194/ispr-archives-XLII-2-W5-185-2017
Dore, C., Murphy, M. (2012) Integration of HBIM and 3D GIS for Digital Heritage Modelling, Digital Documentation, 22-23 October, 2012 Edinburgh, Scotland.
Dore, C., Murphy, M., (2012), Integration of Historic Building Information Modeling and 3D GIS for Recording and Managing Cultural Heritage Sites, 18th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia: “Virtual Systems in the Information Society”, 2-5 September, 2012, Milan, Italy, pp. 369-376.
Dore, C.& Murphy, M. (2015) Historic building information modelling (HBIM), Handbook of Research on Emerging Digital Tools for Architectural Surveying, Modeling, and RepresentationJuly 13, 2015, Pages 233-273
Ellul, C., Stoter, J. & Harrie, L. (2018). Investigating the State of Play of Geobim across Europe. 13th 3D GeoInfo Conference 2018, Delft, Netherlands, 1 October 2018 – 2nd October. doi:10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-4-W10-19-2018
Fernández-Rodríguez, S. Cortés-Pérez, J.P., Muriel, P.P., Tormo-Molina, R., Maya-Manzano, J.M. (2019) Environmental impact assessment of Pinaceae airborne pollen and green infrastructure using BIM, Volume 96, December 2018, Pages 494-507
Flynn, M. and Brodie, S. (2019)A Critical review of the Requirements for a Quantity Surveyor’s Model View Definition for 5D Collaborative BIM Engagement, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 101-109
Harrell, R. & Mathews, M. (2018) Could Autodesk Revit Be Automated for Code Compliance Checking and Demonstration with A Focus on Fire Safety Regulations? Technical Report.
Hayden, R. and Kehily, D. (2019) Using asynchronous learning to enhance the pedagogical experience inteaching BIM technologies to construction students, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 9-17
Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R. (2019) Centres of Excellence and Roadmaps for Digital Transition: Lessons for Ireland’s Construction Industry, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 247 – 255
Hore, A., Kuang, S.,  McAuley, B. and West, R. and (2019) Development of a Framework to Support the Effective Adoption of BIM in the Public Sector: Lessons for Ireland, CIB World Building Congress: Constructing Smart Cities, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong China, 17-21 June, pp 1-10
Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R (2017) BIM Innovation Capability Programme 0f Ireland, Proceedings of the  Lean & Computing in Construction Congress (LC3), Crete, Greece, 4-12 July 2017
Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R. (2017) BIM in Ireland 2017, BIM Innovation Capability Programme, CitA Ltd.
Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R. (2018)  Establishing Lessons for Ireland’s BIM Policy Through a Systematic Review of International BIM Programmes, International Journal of 3-D, Information Modeling, Iss 6, Volume 4, pp 1-14
Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R. (2018)  National Children’s Hospital (NCH) Dublin, Chapter 10: BIM Case Studies, 3rd Edition of the BIM Handbook, pp 405-409
Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R. (2019) BIM in Ireland 2019, CitA Ltd.
Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R. (2019) From Roadmap to Implementation: Lessons for Ireland’s Digital Construction Programme, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 238-246
Hore, A., McAuley, B., and West, R. (2017) BIM Innovation Capability Programme Global BIM Study – Lessons for Ireland’s BIM Programme, Construction IT Alliance Limited,
Hore, A., McAuley, B., West, R., Kassem, M. and Kuang, S. (2017) Ireland’s BIM Macro Adoption Study: Establishing Irelands BIM Maturity, Proceedings of the 3rd CitA BIM Gathering, Dublin, 23rd – 24th November, 2017, pp 32-40
Kane,  R., McAuley, B., Hore, A. And Fraser, F. (2015) Collaborative Public Works contracts using BIM – An opportunity for the Irish construction industry? Proceedings of the 2nd CITA BIM Gathering, Dublin, Nov 12 – 13th, PP 118 – 125
Kehil, D. and Mitchell, C. (2017) Increasing efficiency in 5D BIM by Utilising ‘BIM Interoperability Tools –Classification Manager’ to append ICMS cost codes, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 101-108
Kehily, D. & Underwood, J. (2017). Embedding life cycle costing in 5D BIM. Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon), Vol. 22, pg. 145-167, http://www.itcon.org/2017/8 DOI:10.21427/afdk-ky60
Kehily, D., Underwood, J. (2015) Design Science: Choosing an appropriate methodology for research in BIM. CITA BIM Gathering 2015, November 12th -13th 2015.doi:10.21427/fde9-tj97
Khademi, H. & Behan, A. 2017 “A review of approaches to solving the problem of BIM search: towards intelligence-assisted design”. Proceedings CitA BIM Gathering 2017, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland,​ ​23rd-24th November 2017. doi:10.21427/sged-qg40
Kuang, S., Hore, A., McAuley, B. and West, R. (2017) A Study on Supporting the Deployment and Evaluation of Government Policy Objectives Through the Adoption of Building Information Modelling,  Proceedings of the 3rd CitA BIM Gathering, Dublin, 23rd – 24th November, 2017, pp 58-62
Lefebvre, F, and McAuley, B. (2019) An investigation into current procurement strategies that promote collaboration through early contractor involvement with regards to their suitability for Irish public work projects, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 209-221
MacLoughlin, S. and Hayes, E. (2019) Overcoming Resistance To BIM: Aligning A Change Management Method With A BIM Implementation Strategy, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 188 – 197
Maddy, J. (2017) The Life Cycle Engineer, Proceedings of the 3rd CitA BIM Gathering, Dublin, 23rd – 24th November, 2017, pp 234-243
Mathews, M. (2015) Defining Job Titles and Career Paths in BIM. ,CITA BIM Gathering 2015, November 12th -13th 2015
Mathews, M., Robles, D. & Bowe, B. (2017) BIM+Blockchain: A Solution to the Trust Problem in Collaboration? CITA BIM Gathering 2017, November 23rd-24th November 2017
Matthews, M. (2105) BIM and collabrative working and practices, BIM in Design, Consteuction and Operations,WIT Press, pp133-144
McAuley, B, Hore, A.V. and West, R. (2015) The Development of Key Performance Indicators to Monitor Early Facilities Management Performance Through the Use of BIM Technologies in Public Sector Projects. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Civil and Building Engineering Informatics, Tokyo, 22 – 24th April. (Accepted for Publication)
McAuley, B., Behan, A., McCormack, P., Hamilton, A., Rebelo, E., Neilson, B., Beckett, G., Costa, A.A., Carreira, P., Likar, D., Taneva-Veshoska, A., Lynch, S., Hynes, W. and Borkovic, T. (2019) Improving the Sustainability of the Built Environment by Training its Workforce in More Efficient and Greener Ways of Designing and Constructing Through the Horizon2020 Energy BIMcert Project, Proceedings of the CitA BIM Gathering, Galway 26th September, pp 63-70
McAuley, B., Behan, A., McCormack, P., Hamilton, A., Rebelo, E., Neilson, B., Beckett, G., Costa, A.A., Carreira, P., Likar, D., Taneva-Veshoska,A., Lynch, S., Hynes, W. and Borkovic, T. (2019) Delivering Energy Savings for the Supply Chain Through Building Information Modelling as a Result of the Horizon2020 Energy BIMcert Project, Proceedings of the International SEEDS Conference 2019: Growing Sustainability – Natural Capital and Society in the Built Environment, Leeds, 11-12th September, pp 1-11.
McAuley, B., Gunnigan, L., Hore, A. And West, R. (2015c) Ensuring that the Needs of the End User are Effectively Communicated through BIM during the Building Design Stage, Proceedings of the 2nd CITA BIM Gathering, Dublin, Nov 12 – 13th, PP 207 – 216
McAuley, B., Hore, A. And West, R. (2015b) Developing Key Performance Indicators to Measure the Effectiveness of Early Facilities Management Performance on BIM Governed Public Sector Projects, Proceedings of the 2nd CITA BIM Gathering, Dublin, Nov 12 – 13th, PP 198 – 206
McAuley, B., Hore, A. and West, R. (2018) BIM Macro Adoption Study: Establishing Ireland’s BIM Maturity and Managing Complex Change, International Journal of 3-D, Information Modeling, Iss 7, Volume 1, pp 1-11
McAuley, B., Hore, A., and West, R. (2019) BIM in Ireland 2019: A Study of BIM Maturity and Diffusion in Ireland, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway 26th -27th September, pp 222-229
McAuley, B., Hore, A., West, R. and Kuang, S. (2017) Stewardship of International BIM Programmes: Lessons for Ireland, Proceedings of the 3rd CitA BIM Gathering, Dublin, 23rd – 24th November, 2017, pp 15-23
McDonald, M., Donohoe, S.,: How are the Educational Institutes of Ireland Embracing the Paradigm Shift towards BIM? CITA BIM Gathering 2013, November 14th -15th Dublin, Ireland
Mcdonnell, P. and West, R. (2019) Academia – Estates Management Synergies in HEIs – The Low Hanging Fruit, Proceedings of the 4th CitA BIM Gathering, Galway, 26th September, pp 132-139
Moore, R. (2017) A Public Sector BIM Adoption Strategy, CITA BIM Gathering 2017, November 23th -24th 2017
Moore, R., McAuley, B. and Hore, A. (2015) Adopting of PAS 1192-2 by Irish AEC companies will better position them to win international work, Proceedings of the 2nd CITA BIM Gathering, Dublin, Nov 12 – 13th, PP 148-154
Moore, R., McAuley, B. and Hore, A. (2015) The application of industry standards as an alternative to in-house proprietary standards within the AEC industry , Proceedings of the 2nd CITA BIM Gathering, Dublin, Nov 12 – 13th, PP 86-93
Murphy, M. et al (2017). Armagh observatory:historic building information modelling for virtual learning in building conservation. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Vol.XLII-2/W5, 26 International CIPA Symposium, 28 August-01 September, Ottawa, Canada. doi:10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-2-W5-531-2017
Murphy, M. et al (2017). Developing historic building information modelling guidelines and procedures for architectural heritage in Ireland. , XLII-2/W5, pp.539-546. doi:10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-2-W5-539-2017
O’Reilly, A. & Mathews, M. (2019) Incentivising Multidisciplinary Teams with new methods of Procurement using BIM + Blockchain​, CITA BIM Gathering 2019, September 26th 2019. doi.org/10.21427/14aq-jn02
O’Sullivan, P. and Behan, A. 2017 What Lessons Can Be Learned From The Delivery Of The First Building On The Grangegorman Campus Using Building Information Management (BIM)? CitA BIM Gathering, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland, Nov 23rd – 24th, 2017. doi:10.21427/96wa-yf18
Peters, J. & Mathews, M. (2019) What is a BIM design model? CITA BIM Gathering 2019, Galway, Ireland, September 26th.
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Call for REEN Board Applications

We’re seeking two new board members for REEN, the global Research in Engineering Education Network, representing the regions of (1) the Middle East and Russia and (2) Southeast Asia. I’m proud to serve as the Chair of this Network, which helps bring the global community of engineering education researchers together through symposia, special focus journal publications, and focused events to build knowledge, capacity/agency, and a sense of community.

Please see our official call document at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_BK9_NlJqnxtP9qgTtoapBhYr-dYBWUa/view?usp=sharing

And, please visit our website for more about what we do at www.reen.co!

1st ever Engineering Education Research Big Meet Up–register for free

Please join the global EER community–folks all around the world doing Engineering Education Research–in our first Engineering Education Research Big Meet Up. We’re meeting online throughout the day, May 14th.

The event is being spearheaded by Professor John Mitchell, Vice Dean Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Engineering Education at University College London (UCL).

Co-sponsors include the global Research in Engineering Education Network (or “REEN”, which I chair) and other organizations near and dear to my heart where I have worked or studied–including TU Dublin’s CREATE research group, Virginia Tech, and UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education (CEE). Other sponsors are Aalborg University’s Centre for PBL, Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, the Technological University of Malaysia (UTM), and the University of Western Australia (UWA).

The day will include keynotes with Q/A discussion, and virtual coffee breaks for informal breakout discussion. Further details–including schedule and sign up for this free event are at: https://sway.office.com/cNUsuiNUObg2SQNx?ref=Link

It will be great to interact with colleagues near and far, and get to know a few new members of the EER community as well. Hope you’ll join us!

Final Report of my MSCA Individual Fellowship

My Marie Curie fellowship ended the last day of 2019 and I had 60 days to complete my final report. For Marie Curie Research Fellows, it can be difficult to figure out what will be required for reporting, based on discussion threads I read online.

Fellows don’t have much indication of what the report will entail until the European Commission’s “Participant Portal” invites them to submit the final report. Even then, it’s not clear how long the descriptions will need to be or where the report template is located. Only after you enter the text for the public statements, will the system inform you how long the text must be. Surprises I encountered in the official reporting process: The text you post for the public is limited to just 7480 characters! There’s specific button you’ve got to locate that contains the blank PDF template for the full report.

This blog post contains the public synopsis of my 2018-2019 project as well as a link to a PDF of the full report, which uses the required template and thus may be of help to other fellows:

I’ve posted this blog for (a) people interested in the research I’ve done and also (b) other MSCA fellows who have questions about the reporting process. This particular post shares my short, public synopsis (below). It’s likely I’ll post more detailed info in coming blogs, along with photos of the MSCA grant period that I’ve never posted before.

Getting the photos loaded onto WordPress has provided me a pleasant trip down memory lane. I plan to share more of these in coming posts.

Public Synopsis

1Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project (For the final period, include the conclusions of the action)

This section should include information on:

  • What is the problem/issue being addressed?
  • Why is it important for society?
  • What are the overall objectives?

The Action “Designing Engineers: Harnessing the Power of Design Projects to Spur Cognitive and Epistemological Development of STEM Students” looks at how engineering and architecture students learn, and how design projects and teamwork affect students’ thinking and overall development. The research questions how students learn to design and how their thinking changes over time with regard to what knowledge is, where it comes from, and how it gets validated; their views on this constitute their epistemologies. Such topics are important because society needs more engineers and more STEM graduates. Not only is there widespread lack of engagement, but problems also have been identified in graduate engineers’ ability to think holistically—today’s graduates do not seem prepared to identify and address global challenges in the comprehensive way society needs. Although engineering is often perceived as a dry, technical subject there is great room for creativity.

Architecture programs around the world are filled with highly engaged students. In engineering, there has been a move to teach in more active, hands-on, project-based ways that incorporate design, as done in architecture. Engineering can learn from architecture’s historic success in engaging and teaching students to design, but engineering has placed more focus than architecture has on understanding how students learn. The fields of engineering and architecture education have much to learn from each other. 

Objectives of this Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA) have been to (a) develop and promote better ways to teach and support STEM students; (b) help transform engineering into a more diverse and creative field; and (c) investigate questions surrounding the theme, To what extents do design projects influence the cognitive and epistemological development of undergraduates in engineering and architecture? A parallel goal of the MSCA Individual Fellowship is to foster the development of the individual researcher (that’s me!).

2Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far (For the final period please include an overview of the results and their exploitation and dissemination)

Work was conducted via 6 work packages (WPs). WP1 comprised 3 qualitative research studies that yielded 4 conference publications and 1 journal publication to date, with an additional 3 conference publications and 2 journal manuscripts underway. WP2 sought to build skill with multiple research methodologies. In it, the Fellow delivered 5 conference presentations, 3 published journal articles, and 1 encyclopedia entry, with 2 conference manuscripts underway. WP3 involved developing a special-focus journal issue. The Fellow exceeded goals by spearheading development of 2 different special focus journal issues (published 2018 & 2019). The Fellow is leading the development of a third special focus issue (for 2020). In WP4, the Fellow delivered 20 public engagement activities to popularize STEM and communicate findings. In WP5, for researcher training and transfer-of-knowledge, the Fellow attended 70 intensive training workshops and multi-day conferences. She provided leadership in publishing and research at university, national, and international levels. To transfer of knowledge, she conducted 18 workshops for researchers and educators; she provided supervision and mentoring for early career researchers. She was appointed Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Education, Editorial Board member of the European Journal of Engineering Education, and serves as Chair of the global Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN). During the grant, she earned a teaching qualification in the UK (SFHEA) and secured €56,000 (as co-PI) for education projects in Spain, a £11,200 donation to UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education from the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineers via EWBUK, and €237,727 in contract work from UCL Consulting. The project was managed under WP6.

Results of this MSCA are reported in: (1) forthcoming papers on how architecture and civil engineering students conceptualize design creation and knowledge generation; (2) forthcoming papers on ethics, sustainability/SDGs and early-career engineers from a study on UK civil engineers’ practices and perceptions of global responsibility; (3) papers about women’s experiences studying engineering including a longitudinal study (that uses data collected over four years in Ireland regarding Middle Eastern women’s experiences studying engineering abroad) and analysis using the framework known as A Hero’s Journey (of a single mother’s challenges and successes studying and working in engineering); (4) a systematic review of grit in engineering education; a multi-method study of engineering teachers’ experiences implementing problem based learning (PBL). The data sets collected during this MSCA will inform and enhance dozens of publications in the coming years, in addition to the ones produced and published during the fellowship itself.

3Progress beyond the state of the art, expected results until the end of the project and potential impacts (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

This MSCA has pushed the frontiers of engineering education research (EER) forward in a numerous ways. The 2 special focus issues the Fellow spearheaded have shed new light onto socio-cultural diversity and engineering students’ identity formation and epistemic development. The educational blogs, STEM activity books for kids, and fun, creative events conducted by the Fellow are helping popularize engineering—the first STEM book was nominated for an award of excellence in the UK. The engineering education journals, and the workshops and community up-skilling events led by the Fellow are helping cultivate broader human capacity to produce quality research in the field of EER (e.g., Chairing the Research in Engineering Education Network to help raise the quality, credibility, and usefulness of EER globally and delivering Master Classes to help engineering teachers and researchers upskill).

This MSCA allowed the Fellow to develop agility with many different research methodologies and promote best practices to the larger EER community (e.g., co-authoring a study on “grit” in engineering education and identifying how to report it for maximum impact). The Fellow’s project on UK civil engineers exposed shortfalls in ethics and sustainability education and identified how engineers learn about these crucial topics, in that research participants said they did not learn enough about them in university. The Fellow’s PhD student is generating important new knowledge about processes and organizational systems that support creativity in engineering production; working together they are generating new models that describe shortfalls in engineering for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and illustrate what can be done to address them. Through the Fellow’s research on architecture and civil engineering students, valuable new understandings are emerging related to how students conceptualize both design creation and knowledge generation.

Impacts anticipated from the MSCA are increased and improved: focus by engineering educators on developmental patterns shared among engineering students; student retention as a result of improved support; diversity as techniques to support minority students are increasingly employed; overall teaching in engineering education as a result increasingly credible and useful research; focus on ethics and sustainability in engineering education; and production of tools and models to help engineering educators foster creativity and engineering firms contribute to realizing the UN’s SDGs. A final overarching impact is enhanced public perception of engineering as a fun and creative field.

The commission also requested:

4 – Address (URL) of the project’s public website

5- Images attached to the Summary for publication