Harvest of 2020: A summary of my Engineering Education Research

So, I’m not going to lie: 2021 has been incredibly difficult for me. We’ve been on lockdown since before New Years Day here in Ireland. We are homebound and limited to a 5km travel radius from home for essential shopping and exercise (in the cold, wet weather and very short winter days). Moreover, we started the year by burying my partner Aongus’ father.

It’s been work, work, work and nearly no play. Staring at the screen has been taking its toll. Experiencing eye strain, I’ve not had the wherewithal to blog since that requires additional screen time over and above work. Sometimes it feels like I’m marking time, standing in place and making no progress forward.

But then someone asked for info that put some things back into perspective.

You may not know, but even though I am teaching Engineering and Digital Construction at TU Dublin right now, I am still actively engaged in research on engineering education. I’m part of two research centers–one here in Dublin (CREATE) and another in the UK (UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education).

The UCL Centre Coordinator, Paula Broome, is preparing the CEE’s annual report for 2020. She asked me to send a synopsis of my activities in Engineering Education Research. I dashed off the draft below for her to integrate into the report.

Writing this up took time (we’re on Spring Break here, but I can’t seem to get away from the computer). Nevertheless, it made me feel a bit better about forging ahead through 2020. And since it’s Spring Break, I can feel okay taking time away from work to blog!

Two items don’t show upon the list below that actually took a great deal of time in 2020. Hopefully, soon, I’ll be able to list two new journal articles with 2021 publication dates.

I could also have added that my blog made a difference to researchers in 2020. One thanked me on Facebook a couple days ago for providing resources that helped her win her own Marie Curie Research Fellowship in 2020. IrelandByChance.com had a record number of visitors in 2020, totalling 12,265 and beating my previous high of 12,141 visitors in 2013.

The most visited pages all involved the example Marie Curie materials I posted.

UCL CEE 2020 activities of Shannon Chance

Topic: implementing PBL pedagogies

CEE works to help engineering educators learn and implement active learning pedagogies, like problem-based learning. Shannon Chance published the following book chapter on PBL:

CHANCE, S. M. (2020). Problem-Based Learning: Use in Engineering Disciplines. In Amey, M. J. & David, M. E. (Eds.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education, 5v. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-sage-encyclopedia-of-higher-education/book245423

In addition, this CEE-supported project was presented at a conference on PBL:

Mora, C. E., CHANCE, S. M., Direito, I., Morera-Bello, M. D., Hernández-Zamora, L., & Williams, B. (2020). INGENIA, a novel program Impacting Sustainable Development Goals locally through students’ actions. The International Research Symposium on Problem Based Learning (IRSPBL 2020) in Aalborg, Denmark.

Topic: diversity and inclusion

We believe in creating diverse and inclusive learning environments where all members feel welcome and supported—where they can be their true selves and realize their full potential. Inês Direito leads the SEFI working group on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and CEE’s Shannon Chance, Fiona Turscott, and Sophia Economides are frequent contributors to the group. Our team’s work includes a longitudinal, phenomenological study on Middle Eastern women’s experiences studying engineering abroad in Ireland, led by Shannon Chance, published the following Peer-Reviewed Conference Paper:

CHANCE, S. M., & Williams, B. (2020, May). Here you have to be mixing: Collaborative learning on an engineering program in Ireland as experienced by a group of Middle Eastern young women. EDUCON2020 – IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference in Porto, Portugal.https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9125207

Shannon was also invited to present the work in Malaysia:

CHANCE, S., & Williams, B. (2020). Middle Eastern women’s experiences of collaborative learning in engineering in Ireland. Plenary forum Women in Engineering at the Regional Centre for Engineering Education conference (RCEE 2020) on “Engineering Education Leadership in an Uncertain World” at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

This Peer-Reviewed Conference Paper about Portuguese students’ experiences with Brexit also reflects our concern for Diversity and Inclusion:

Direito, I., CHANCE, S. M., & Williams, B. (2020). Exploring the impact of Brexit on UK’s engineering education sector from the perspective of European students. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI 2020) conference in Twente, Netherlands.

Topic: ethics and sustainability

We are looking for ways to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into our work and to infuse environmental sustainability, social justice, and ethics into our teaching and research. To understand these values are being enacted in London, our team has been conducting an exploratory study regarding UK civil engineers’ understandings and practices related to Global Responsibility (the topic of two articles we have under review with journals right now). Shannon Chance was invited to deliver a keynote speech on sustainability at a conference in China:

CHANCE, S., (2020). Equipping STEM graduates for global challenges via design thinking. Keynote speech for Chinese Society for Engineering Education’s 15th International Symposium on Science and Education Development Strategy on “Innovation of Engineering Education System under Global Challenges” held in Hangzhou, China 10-11 December 2020.

CEE members published the following Peer-Reviewed Conference Papers on sustainability in 2020:

CHANCE, S. M., Direito, I., & Mitchell, J. (2020). Challenges to global responsibility faced by London-based early-career civil engineers. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI 2020) conference in Twente, Netherlands.

CHANCE, S. M., Direito, I., & Mitchell, J. (accepted in 2020, although the conference has been postponed until 2021). To what degree do graduate civil engineers working in London enact Global Responsibility and support UN Sustainable Development Goals? Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD2020) conference in Cork, Ireland.

This paper, mentioned above under PBL, also focuses on sustainability:

Mora, C. E., CHANCE, S. M., Direito, I., Morera-Bello, M. D., Hernández-Zamora, L., & Williams, B. (2020). INGENIA, a novel program Impacting Sustainable Development Goals locally through students’ actions. The International Research Symposium on Problem Based Learning (IRSPBL 2020) in Aalborg, Denmark.

And finally, this workshop session intergated on sustainability:

CHANCE, S. M., & Villas Boa, V. (2020). Can we make future conferences greener and more equitable by providing online participation options? Breakout session of the Big EER Meet Up (online via UCL, April 2020).

Topic: Research Methods

CEE seeks to build research skills both across the members of CEE and more broadly. Shannon Chance build skill in teaching research methods by teaching a 5 ECTS module on the topic at TU Dublin in 2020. CEE members also provided the following workshops on research methods:

India

CHANCE, S., Direito, I., & Malik, M. (2020). An introduction to literature reviews in Engineering Education. Workshop for the Indo Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE). 22 November 2020.

Netherlands

Direito, I., CHANCE, S., & Malik, M. (2020). An introduction to systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses in Engineering Education. Workshop at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2020 annual conference in Twente, Netherlands.

Edström, K.,Benson, L.,Mitchell, J., Bernhard, J., van den Bogaard, M., Case, J.; CHANCE, S., & Finelli, C. (2020). Best practices for reviewing manuscripts in engineering education research journals. Workshop at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2020 annual conference in Twente, Netherlands.

Topic: global leadership in engineering education research (EER)

CEE provides leadership at the highest levels in engineering education—including both engineering education program development and engineering education research.

In April 2020, the CEE team organized and hosted the Big Engineering Education Research (EER) Meet Up, with 350 attendees worldwide. We followed this up in June 2020 with a second Meet Up for International Women in Engineering Day, that had 90 attendees. These were our primary activities for helping build academics’ capacity to conduct EER. At the start of 2020, Shannon Chance presented outcomes of the Marie Curie Research Fellowship she completed at UCL:

CHANCE, S. M. (2020). Becoming Civil: Outcomes of a Marie Curie Fellowship with CEGE and CEE. Lunch seminar for UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education in London.

Shannon Chance serves as the Chair of the global Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN). The term of Chair runs for the calendar years 2020 and 2021. As the head of the Governing Board of REEN, she has succeeded in diversifying and expanding the board to better represent the globe, helped organize REEN support for the CEE MeetUps at the outset of the pandemic, led the upgrade of the website for usability and economic sustainability, moved toward more transparent policies and procedures, and helped keep REEN operations on track.

To help grow a strong research community, we also supervise and mentor emerging researchers. In 202,0 Shannon continued to serve as a PhD supervisor and visiting processor at London South Bank University (LSBU). She has also been is highly active in UCL’s CEE and TU Dublin’s CREATE research group, helping aid communication between these two EER centers. In 2020, Shannon also reviewed conference paper submissions for the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) and EDUCON conferences.

Topic: global leadership in EER publishing

CEE work involves serving as top editors of the IEEE Transactions on Education, where John Mitchell is Editor-in-Chief and Shannon Chance is an Associate Editor. John and Shannon are also active contributors to the Engineering Education Research (EER) editors’ roundtables that assembles online and at the world’s top EER conferences and is creating resources to support authors and reviewers. John and Shannon are also both on the editorial board of the European Journal of Engineering Education (EJEE).

Shannon is currently the primary editor for a special focus issue on ethics in engineering education and practice, to be published in May 2021 by REEN’s Research in Engineering Education Symposium and the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education. In 2020, Shannon also served as a peer reviewer for all of the following journals:

International Journal of Qualitative Methods

Technology | Architecture + Design

Australasian Journal of Engineering Education  

IEEE Transactions on Education

European Journal of Engineering Education

Journal of Engineering Education

Topic: public engagement

Outreach to the public is important to CEE. During 2020, Shannon Chance was interviewed for UK’s “Engineering Matters” podcast #59 Empowering Ethical Engineering (https://engineeringmatters.reby.media/2020/06/25/59-empowering-ethical-engineering/).

Shannon also served as an advisor for the recent publication of a children’s book “The Architecture Scribble Book” by Usborne Publishing Ltd.(2020). This built on past success with titled “The Engineering Scribble Book” by Usborne Publishing Ltd.(2018) which she also consulted on. Shannon also hosts the educational blog IrelandByChance.com.

CHANCE, S. (2012-present). Ireland by Chance: Research Adventures in Ireland and the UK. http://www.IrelandByChance.com showcasing research and fellowship activities.

Our team communicated and promoted research we have done via public channels:

CHANCE, S., Williams, B., & Direito, I. (2020). Tackling gender inclusion of Middle East students in engineering education with Project Based Learning. SEFI Newsletter.

CHANCE, S., Williams, B., & Direito, I. (2020, December 1). Project based learning: a tool for gender inclusion and enhanced team learning. Technological University Dublin blog for Diversity Equity and Inclusion. https://sway.office.com/fjc0aQKqkWotCl2J?ref=email&loc=play

Topic: CPD

Members of the CEE stay on top of their professional credentials. In 2020, Shannon Chance refreshed her Architectural Registration (license to practice) in the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA and maintained the National Council Record she holds with the USA’s National Council of Architectural Registration Boards which enables her to gain reciprocity in any of the United States. Shannon also gained a new credential, a Postgraduate Certificate in Building Information Modeling, at the February 2020 graduation ceremony at Technological University Dublin.

Topic: curriculum development

The CEE is currently developing new engineering curricula for Newgiza University in Cairo, Egypt. Emanuela Tilley, Al Mosart Hassan, and Shannon Chance comprise the core team developing the new curriculum in Architectural Engineering.

Topic: leadership in educational evaluation

In a similar vein to developing curricula, CEE also supports Quality Assurance and Accreditation processes. In 2020, Shannon Chance served on a review panel for a Substantive Change application submitted by the University of Puerto Rico to the USA’s National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB). Shannon also served as an external evaluator for applications submitted to Fulbright Ireland. In 2020, Shannon was also active in Quality Assurance at TU Dublin (Ireland), where as part of her role as Programme Chair for the BSc (Hons) in BIM (Digital Construction) she chaired the Programme Committee and served on the Extended School Executive Committee.

Call for special focus issue on Covid Leadership and Educ Planning

I’ve published in this journal before, and I even received the organization’s 2010 “Outstanding Dissertation Award”. I encourage you to considering submitting an article for their new special focus issue. The host organization is ISEP, the International Society for Educational Planning.

Special Issue: COVID-19 Leadership and Educational Planning 

Educational Planning

Issue Editors: Jodie Brinkmann and Adam Nir
The COVID-19 pandemic created a new reality for societies, schools, homes, educational infrastructures and services. It has influenced education dramatically, creating huge changes in the organization of schooling at all levels, in communication between teachers and students, and in the realization of educational processes and goals.


An immediate and main influence of Covid-19 may be evident in the introduction of uncertainty and instability, both undermining the dominating routines of public schooling.


This special issue of Educational Planning invites papers addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its’ influence on public schools. We welcome manuscripts that focus on the implications COVID-19 has for educational administration and planning at all levels. 
Articles for this special issue:

  • May take the form of original research, conceptual pieces, theory-supported or evidence-based practical accounts
  • Must be submitted exclusively to this special issue and should not be considered by another journal 
  • May present internationally and diverse perspectives of resiliency during changing educational contexts
  • May focus on equity issues during the pandemic and strategies for mitigation 

Deadline for Manuscript Submission: The submission deadline for all papers is: April 1st, 2021Submission Guidelines:

  • Length of manuscript – 2,000 to 5,000 words including abstracts, references, tables, figures and appendixes.
  • Writing style – Adherence to APA Publication Guidelines, 7th edition.
  • Cover page – should include the manuscript title, author(s)’ name(s), official title(s), affiliation(s) and contact information.
  • The manuscript – should be submitted in a separate file to include the paper title, a 200-word abstract, the paper itself, the references, the tables, the figures and the appendixes if any. The identity of the author(s) should not be disclosed at the paper for peer review.

Review Process: All submitted manuscripts for this special issuewill be sent to the co-editors in WORD files. The manuscripts will first be screened by the editors for suitability to the themes of the special issue. They will then be sent for peer review by at least two members of the editorial review board. In consideration of the reviewers’ comments, the editors will make a decision and inform the author(s). A summary of the reviewers’ comments and recommendations on the manuscript will be shared with the author(s). The entire review process will take about four – eight weeks. All accepted manuscripts in their final publication format will be sent to the author(s) for final approval before publication. Author(s) of accepted manuscripts for publication will be asked to sign a manuscript copyright release form before publication. This special issue will be published online on the website of the Society for Educational Planning with printed hardcopies to be mailed to the authors.All materials in the Journal are the property of ISEP and are copyrighted. Permission to use material generally will be made available by the editor to students and educational institutions upon written request.

  • The Journal is assigned ISSN 1537-873X by the National Serials Data Program of the Library of Congress
  • The Journal is indexed in the H. W. Wilson Education Index.
  • The Journal with its articles is a part of EBSCO Database.
  • The Journal with its articles is a part of ERIC Database.
  • The Journal has a current 35% acceptance rate.

 Please e-mail all manuscripts to the editors of this special issue: 

Dr. Jodie Brinkmann, Virginia Tech, USA, jlbrinkmann@vt.edu 

Dr. Adam NirHebrew, University of Jerusalem, Israel, adam.nir@mail.huji.ac.il

Call for Special Issue “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM for a Sustainable Future”

My colleague here at TU Dublin, Dr. Gavin Duffy, is organizing a special focus issue on topics near and dear to my heart: sustainability, diversity, and STEM.

Please see their call for submissions, which I have pasted below.


Dear colleague,

We are happy to announce the possibility to contribute to a Special Issue “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM for a Sustainable Future”, edited by Sustainability, an open access journal by MDPI.
There is evidence that many key performance indicators of academic and non-academic organizations related to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are strongly determined by the diversity of the workforce in these organisations.  This points to a need to ensure that increasing diversity becomes a key goal for both STEM educators and STEM industry. Evidence suggests that the number of women resigning from technological job positions remains unacceptably high. For example, in western countries, only 20% or less of graduating engineers are female, and often fewer than 10% are part of the engineering workforce.  To increase diversity, equality, and inclusion in STEM education, many different approaches can be implemented at different levels and to different target groups.
This Special Issue aims to address research mainly related to:

  • Theoretical insight into the reasons for this imbalance;
  • Empirical evidence, experimental approaches, and best practices of recruitment and retention in STEM education;
  • Ideas and policy to support gender balance careers in a STEM context.

You can find practical information at the link
https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/equality_diversity_inclusion_STEM
Author BenefitsOpen Access: free for readers, with article processing charges (APC) paid by authors or their institutions. Some benefits for articles rated best by the Editorial Board and the Editorial Office can be partially discounted.

Anita Tabacco, Politecnico di Torino (anita.tabacco@polito.it)
Gavin Duffy, Technological University Dublin (gavin.duffy@tudublin.ie)
Alicia García-Holgado, University of Salamanca (aliciagh@usal.es)
Rachel Riedner, The George Washington University (rach@gwu.edu)

A new doc is born: Dr. Diana Adela Martin

Very soon I’ll get to call my colleague Dr. Martin, instead of ‘just’ Diana. Today, she submitted the “minor corrections” requested by external examiners on her doctoral thesis during her viva.

Diana Adela Martin
Dr. Diana Adela Martin

We have different ways of speaking about all this in the States. We’d say she needed to make some minor amendments to the text following her dissertation defense. Actually, back home, as everyone makes minor adjustments after their defense, these aren’t usually considered “corrections”. They are considered fully normal!

Some days I feel like an international thesaurus, since so many terms vary from the US, to Ireland, and again to the UK. Divided by a common language, we often say over here.

In Europe, the rules and expectations for punctuation are even different than in the States! I’m constantly walking (writing on?) a tightrope. Consider that English is my first (and pretty much only) language, and that Diana has been writing, studying, and conducting empirical research in a non-native language. It makes her accomplishments all the more impressive.

So, the deadline for Diana’s changes popped up, seemingly out of nowhere… and she delivered! I just received an email saying she’d gotten it all submitted, along with this screenshot:

I can’t really say how much it means to be mentioned in Diana’s thesis. It deeply touched me and let me know that all the hours of interaction mattered to both of us. I’m quite often the “unofficial” mentor but the lack of formal status doesn’t stop me from giving my all at it. In this case, her lead supervisor did ask me to serve as mentor when she joined our institution.

This type of work often goes undocumented, and we know it disproportionately falls to women and early career academics, who are expected to be good supports for others — empathetic and able to share freely. Too often, this expectation holds those unacknowledged mentors back from tasks that get higher recognition in institutions. Being the liaison to a student group can take a lot of time, with little to no formal reward in, for example, tenure and promotion deliberations (the US way of putting it). For me, I am glad to be at a point in life where I don’t worry too much about accolades — I’ve already earned tenure, currently hold a permanent position, and was made Full Professor back in 2014 — and I feel enabled to allocate my time to things I value.

I spend a great deal of time on diversity and inclusion, ethics, and sustainability — and on supporting early career researchers and entry-level teaching staff whenever I can. When I don’t hear from my informal mentees (Inês, Lelanie, Carlos, Canaria, and Diana) or my formal supervisee (Thomas), my week is half as alive.

Mentoring a fun and very important role, and I think we should have more mentorship programs. There is a new term emerging around the world for “promoters”, and this term is starting to grow on me. It is, in fact, what I do.

Diana’s message also evoked memory this image, which I recently shared on Facebook:

The caption for this image is: “When you see something beautiful in someone, tell them. It may take a second to say, but for them it may last a lifetime.”

I follow that advice with my mentees and supervisees, and I think it makes a world of difference.

The superstars in my own life (my own lead PhD supervisor, Prof/Dr Pamela Eddy, for one) have given this type of support to me. Indeed, Pam should have been listed as my #1 supervisor, though something slipped through the cracks.

Overall, positive attitude is important.

It’s infectious in the best of ways.

Expressing gratitude and thanks is good for everyone’s soul.

And yes, it’s also important to remain critical and reflective, and to stick up for yourself and others who are not getting the credit deserved. You’ll see this is why I pay attention to the order authors are listed on the projects where I’m involved: the final listing should accurately reflect the actual proportion of effort each person has contributed. I don’t take kindly to those with established reputations taking advantage and listing themselves ahead of those who actually delivered. Regarding such, I frequently take a stand. I see an instance where I will need to take such a stand looming on the horizon. Although I dread conflict, I know I’ll have to stand up for the emerging scholars who actually delivered, and to make sure they are not listed below any individual who left us hanging. I find it’s easier to stick up for others getting their due share of recognition than when it’s just for myself, and that I grow clearer on all this over time.

So, back to Diana’s thesis.

It looks like I need to upload the text to iPad or Kindle soon.

My friend, the late Wayne Ringer, felt compelled to read my entire dissertation when he was mentioned on my acknowledgements page. Him reading it was completely unexpected as he was a lawyer, not a higher education or green building guru who would benefit from the material. Nevertheless, he said if you’re acknowledged in a work, you should naturally read it. He and his daughter, Morgan, also attended my PhD graduation from William and Mary back in 2010. Boy, do I miss them.

So, my reading plan is clear. I’d better hit this new book of Dr. Martin’s, as soon as it’s off the presses!

Wayne will approve.

Diana’s topic is ethics in engineering, and she researched how it is handled in accreditation in Ireland. She has a number of journal articles under review that report various aspects of the study. She’s also on the steering committee of the Ethics working group for the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI), which just today published a newsletter featuring some of my team’s work, under the title “Tackling gender inclusion of Middle East students in engineering education with Project Based Learning”.

Today, Diana is already shaping the agenda for research and practice in engineering ethics, not just following the crowd. And she’s headed to a new institution, to do a postdoc on ethics in engineering. She’s blazing new trails!

This level of leadership is impressive for what we in the USA would call a “baby doc”, a newly minted PhD!

Featured today on TU Dublin’s Diversity Blog

I invite you to visit the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion blog published by Technological University Dublin, which today features an article I wrote with my colleagues Dr. Bill Williams and Dr. Inês Direito. Our article is titled Project based learning: a tool for gender inclusion and enhanced team learning and you can read it in full at https://sway.office.com/fjc0aQKqkWotCl2J?ref=email&loc=play

Globetrotting in Malaysia, India and China

I’ve been covering more ground these days than normal. In a typical year, I’d never have been able to take time away from teaching during the fall semester to attend so many conferences. But this year, everything is online.

This past Sunday, I was able to deliver a two-hour workshop in India and then record a keynote speech for a conference in China. I also recently spoke on a panel in Malaysia.

I have never been to any of these places, though I would truly love to go! Nevertheless, digital platforms have allowed me to be an active part of discussions all around the world.

China

Here’s a sneak peek at my keynote speech for the Chinese Society for Engineering Education’s 15th International Symposium on Science and Education Development Strategy.

The Symposium’s theme was “Innovation of Engineering Education System under Global Challenges”.

My presentation is titled Equipping STEM graduates for global challenges via design thinking.


The production quality isn’t flawless, but given that I had ZERO tech support, I am proud of the outcome. I tested various apps for superimposing video over the slides, selected one, and managed to produce this video. All. On. My. Own.

The folks in China are polishing it up now, and hopefully inserting captions. It will be formally presented at the conference in Hangzhou, China on December 10th, 2020.

India

Being asked to deliver a workshop for the Indo Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE), I invited two colleagues along to help. Inês Direito, Manish Malik, and I have conducted similar workshops in the past, and we built on that foundation. We developed our past work further for the workshop we delivered November 22th, 2020.

Ours was on component of a set of workshops to help people in India build research skills in engineering education.

We provided An introduction to literature reviews in Engineering Education.

Here’s a link to our slides, which we have assigned a CC-BY license so others are free to draw from our work as long as they cite us.

Alternatively, you can click any of these images to view the slide presentation.

Here’s an overview of the content:

You are welcome to download the journal article we analyzed in the workshop. You might also have interest in the systematic literature review (SLR) we published on grit.

Here’s a pic of one of our team’s workshop prep sessions:

Malaysia

I also got my colleagues involved when I was invited to serve on a panel in Malaysia. Actually, I was invited to serve on two panels for this conference, but one occurred 1-3 AM my time, and I decided to stick to the one held during daylight hours! After all, I was teaching here in Dublin on the same days as the conference.

The speakers from the Women in Engineering plenary are pictured above. They were absolutely amazing. Such inspiring leadership and fabulous work! The speakers were:

  • Rosmiwati Mohd-Mokhtar, USM, Malaysia 
  • Shannon Chance, Technological University Dublin, Ireland 
  • Anne Gardner, University of Technology Sydney, Australia 
  • Naadiya Moosajee, WomEng & WomHub Co-Founder, South Africa 
  • Siti Hamisah binti Tapsir, MOSTI, Malaysia 
  • Sharifah Zaida Nurlisha binti Syed Ibrahim, CEO, MMC Oil & Gas Engineering Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

This was part of the 8th Regional Conference in Engineering Education (RCEE). It was organized by the Centre for Engineering Education (CEE) and the Faculty of Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

The overall conference was on “Engineering Education Leadership in an Uncertain World”.

I presented work by Bill Williams, Inês Direito, and myself on Middle Eastern women’s experiences of collaborative learning in engineering in Ireland. Here’s a link to a recent conference paper on the topic.

We have also written a blog on this which will soon be published by TU Dublin — stay tuned and I’ll share that once it’s out.

I got to attend several other day-time sessions at the conference, including the closing session, pictured above. The crowd was warm and enthusiastic. They were really interested in learning what women from Oman and Kuwait had told me about how engineering is practiced in their countries.

Global perspective

I’m delighted to have had these opportunities. Back in 2006, when I decided to earn a PhD in Higher Education, I had a goal to learn to see patterns at a global scale. I wanted to equip myself with the research skills to to affect change and to enable myself to move abroad for work.

Getting involved in the global Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN), and now serving as its Chair, has enabled me to connect with others in meaningful ways — to analyze the way we teach, study data on efficacy, publish research outcomes, and help improve engineering and architecture education.

In addition to learning some new skills in video capture and editing this past week, I also expanded my skills in Photoshop and created a new logo for REEN. The entire REEN Board gave feedback to improve the design, and I’m pleased to unveil it to you now:

Architecture Scribble Book now at booksellers

Introducing the “Architecture Scribble Book” — a brand new book from Usborne Publishers.

As with the “Engineering Scribble Book” published in 2018, I served as consultant on the content and presentation for this book project. These are outreach projects I completed during my Marie Curie fellowship at University College London.

The front cover of “Architecture Scribble Book”

The “Architecture Scribble Book” is an activity book for kids, chock full of principles we teach architecture students at university level, presented in a way that is fun and easy-to-understand.

Pages from “Architecture Scribble Book”

Much like the “Engineering Scribble Book”, this “Architecture Scribble Book” aims to give kids a taste of this STEM-oriented career. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Some people like to add an A to STEM, making it STEAM, to make sure the art and architecture side of things doesn’t get overlooked. These books show that architecture and engineering are both highly creative fields!

Covers of both “Scribble Architecture” and “Scribble Engineering”

With this architecture activity book, kids get to learn about design and technology as they build skills and understanding, and learn about the values architecture need to hold to do their jobs well.

Here’s a video by Usborne Publishers on the architecture book:

Lessons include spatial planning, daylighting, geometry, structural properties, material reuse, universal design, effective use of materials, and much more.

Kids also learn basic conventions of representation, such as those used in floor plans, elevations, and perspective drawings.

Pages from “Scribble Engineering”

These concepts are similar in some ways to those covered in the “Engineering Scribble Book”, but the content is unique. Together the make a very nice set.

All said, the “Architecture Scribble Book” is a lovely addition to the Usborne series, and could make a great gift for the children on your Christmas gift list.

Here’s a video by the publisher on the engineering book:

New Call for REEN Board Applications–Africa and Americas

We’re seeking two new board members for REEN, the global Research in Engineering Education Network, representing the regions of: (1) Africa and (2) Central and South America.

Please visit our website for more about what we do at www.reen.co!

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/13PfRh8eiICe1xbe0dVLgoDkpBK-L2E0e/view

Please visit our website for more about what we do at http://www.reen.co!

Applications are due by November 20th, to s.chance@ucl.ac.uk.

Ireland by Chance

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!

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A Day of Family Remembrance

Mass card for my Dad.

My Dad passed away one year ago today. It’s never easy to lose a parent, but I’m thankful I was able to be there in Virginia with him in his final stages. It was a long and hard fought battle with carcinoid cancer. Dad loved life and resisted leaving us with all his might.

I really feel for those going through life’s end stages alone during Covid.

As today is Dad’s one-year Anniversary, Aongus and I remembered him; we celebrated his life, our love and our small circle of friends. In the days leading up, we have chatted with relatives on the phone.

Today, we tried to stay busy and make the most of the day. We started late-ish, with a breakfast of blueberry-raspberry, buckwheat pancakes and a side of bacon.

Then Aongus headed out by bike to visit his auntie and I jumped on a Dublin Bike to meet colleagues for a walk around the new campus of TU Dublin.

View of campus from above.
The building my Kevin Street colleagues will move to after Covid.

I got a bit of exercise alongside Damon, John, and Heitor—at a much greater distance from them than unusual. In the past we’d have had our sleeves rolled up building robots!

Masks and 20’ between us each today. Still, it was great to see them and view the progress on TU Dublin’s new buildings!

I went straight from campus to join a virtual mass, said for my father at a church nearby. Aongus had asked the priest at St. Michan’s (Dublin’s oldest Catholic community) to mention him and put in a good word. The Irish are careful about marking anniversaries like these and remembering their forebearers. It was so kind of both him and the priest.

A kind gesture from my sweet partner.
A screenshot of the mass. It was really lovely. Third weekend in October is mission Sunday, and my Dad was a generous donor to such causes.

Drawing can be therapeutic, so I decided to make a couple videos for my Tech Graphics students. The strategy I developed for teaching them Hand Drawing online has been working out well, so far. Hope it holds out! Marks are nice and high and they seem to be learning well.

A lesson in architectural graphics.
Constructing an ellipse.

Mid-day, my friend Cinaria dropped over an amazing home-cooked Arab meal. I met Cinaria via a Facebook discussion on preparing applications for Marie Curie fellowships. She grew up in Kansas and I in Virginia. More recently, she has been doing research on lung cancer here in Dublin. Such admirable work!

Aongus and I had planned to have Cinaria for in for a visit, but a few days ago the government said no more discretionary visits to other’s homes. As it was, I met her on the Quays just long enough to exchange a bag full of goodies she had prepared. I do look forward to having her over as soon as health regulations permit.

Since lockdown, we’ve had only two other people in the flat besides ourselves–a washing machine repairman and a graduate engineer I’ve been mentoring. It will be nice to get back to normal one of these days.

Cinaria dropping lunch by, so very thoughtful!

The meal Cinaria cooked for us was extraordinary! It was clearly cooked with both skill and love. Really lovely flavors!

Cinaria is an amazing cook!

How blessed we are to have friends and health and delicious food during these trying times.

Aongus and I were thoroughly delighted.
Cinaria even baked up dessert! ❤️

Thank you, Cinaria, Damon, John, Heitor, and Auntie Eithne, for helping make our day a positive and uplifting one!

We will end the day with a swim at the gym. Then it’s headlong into another intense week of work.

I may be far from home and family, but I felt surrounded by love today.

Example SOC proposal for MSCA IF: Ethics Section

It might be helpful to other applicants in the SOC panel to see an example of the ethics section as well, so I’m providing this example from 2015. It is very important to note, however, that the rules for personal and data protection have gotten more highly defined, and so it would not be a good idea to copy paste this for your own submission. It must be updated for current GDPR regulations, as well as being tailored to your topic.

For the full suite of posts:

Abstract and Eval
• Excellence Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Notes on using tables
• Impact Section 2.1, 2.2
Implementation Section 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Ethics Section (here)
Final Report from 2016 submission

6      ETHICS SELF-REVIEW           

This research study involves (1) interviewing women who are studying engineering at 3rd level and (2) conducting surveys with male and female engineering students. Because this project involves human participants, we must obtain informed consent from each participant. Informed Consent Form and Information Sheets examples are provided below. Ethics approvals will be obtained from the host institution and each partner university prior to any data collection (see Tables 2, 4, and 6). Profs. Chance and Tyler will accept responsibility for being ethical stewards of the data throughout its life cycle. This will be checked during the Milestone reviews that occur every six months, where, for instance, Dr. Chance will provide Prof. Tyler with proof that Informed Consent has been secured.

HUMAN SUBJECTS

All participants will be university undergraduates, postgraduates, or practicing professionals. They will all be volunteers, recruited with the help of their teachers (or, in the case of Poland, via the Perspektywy Education Foundation website). They will be solicited in class, during events, via list serves, and/or by email. They can withdraw their participation at any time and they will be informed of such on the Information Sheet and Informed Consent Form. Interview and survey participants will be asked three demographic questions:

  1. What is your gender?
  2. Were you born in the country where you are now studying?
  3. On which continent were you born?

Raffle prizes (such as Kindle readers or iTunes gift certificates) may be offered to encourage participation in the interviews and surveys. Prizewinners will be selected randomly, by drawing numbers from a hat.

Volunteers for surveys will be limited to students over age 18 who are studying engineering and/or architecture. The opening page of the online survey will include a concise Information Sheet and ask the participant to give informed consent before starting the survey by clicking “continue.” The content of the online survey will be generated in light of findings from the interviews and will be provided to the host institution’s Ethics Review Committee prior to commencing the survey.

Volunteers for interviews will be limited to students over age 18 who are women studying engineering and/or architecture. When they are recruited, they will receive an Information Sheet and be invited to provide their preferred form of contact (email or text number) so the researcher can contact them. The Informed Consent Form will explicitly ask if it is okay to keep the contact information on file for follow-up and will let each participant specify time limits and any other preferences/stipulations about use of her contact information, interview data, and personal data. Each interview participant will be asked to sign the Informed Consent Form before the interview starts. The content of the Information Sheet and the Informed Consent Form will be translated into Polish and Portuguese for use in those countries. These materials will undergo review by Ethics boards at UCL and our partner institutions in Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and the USA. Our primary goal with this research is to support minority students (in engineering this mans women as well as non-native born students and those belonging to groups of minority status in their country of study). We will make every effort to protect the interests of and to support the success of participants of minority status in our research, outreach, and dissemination. Prior to submitting for Ethics approval, Dr. Chance will carefully review UCL’s Data Protection guidelines, policies, and principles. She will meet with a member of the UCL Research Ethics Committee  (i.e., UCL’s data protection officers) to discuss various aspects of the proposed work. The timeline for submitting ethics applications to UCL and the various partner institutions are provided in the Gantt chart (Table 6, in Section 3.1).

Check for collection of sensitive data

Interviewees may be asked to complete an epistemological survey instrument (an updated version of one produced by Kuhn, Cheney, and Winestock from Columbia Teacher’s College12) and to provide some basic demographic information as identified above. If we decide to include an epistemological survey questionnaire along with the interviews, information about the survey tool will be incorporated into the Information Sheet and Informed Consent Form. These personal data are of fairly low sensitivity, but nevertheless, UCL’s data protection officers will be consulted to ensure compliance and to advise the researchers if any specific authorizations from the national data protection authority are necessary. The ethics application/review process will include detailed information about the collection of the demographic data identified above, as well as the epistemological survey instrument.

SOCIAL SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH

This research involves online surveys and audio-recorded interviews. Interviews will be conducted in English, which presents one form of bias in sampling. Recruitment will happen in designated partner institutions, so there is also a convenience sampling bias. We will use extreme-case sampling for interview participants to get the most diverse points of view. In other words, we will be attempting to secure participation from native-born and non-native students in each location. Within the participating architecture and engineering programs, we will invite all registered students to complete the online surveys, which will be translated into the native language by a native speaker (working in consultation with the primary researcher to achieve the most accurate translation possible for each language).

Minimal risk/minimal burden. Questions will involve non-sensitive topics regarding experiences in engineering education. Risks associated with participating are extremely small. It is possible that participants could experience some emotional distress in reflecting on their past experiences, but not more than would be expected in the course of normal conversation. Participants’ identities will be kept confidential and references to actual names will be removed from transcripts, as detailed below; pseudonyms will be used in reporting.

Benefits of participation to the individual participation are the opportunity to reflect on past experiences and to contribute to research about engineering education, epistemological development, and design thinking.

PERSONAL DATA

Procedures for data collection, storage, protection, retention, transfer, destruction, or re-use.Personal data to be collected in this study will be collected through face-to-face interviews and online survey questionnaires.

Online surveys. No personal identifiers will be collected during online surveys—they will be completely anonymized. As per Horizon 2020 ethics self-assessment instructions, “completely anonymized data does not fall under data privacy rules (as from the moment it has been completely anonymized).” Responses to surveys will be stored in Excel spreadsheets, and analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) or similar.

Face-to-face interviews. The researcher is likely to know/record the name, email address and/or telephone number, gender, continent of birth, and national/non-national status for each interview participant. Processing of interviews will involve: collection of digital audio recordings, organization and storage, use, and deleting / destruction of audio recordings following transcription. If a prize raffle is held to encourage participation, email addresses will be collected, stored temporarily, and destroyed following the award of prizes. Interview data will be collected using digital sound recording devices and stored on a password-protected computer. Interview participants can choose to have their data included only in this study, or archived for future research, conditional on the restrictions listed on the Consent Form. The list of interview participants (with name, contact information, and identifying code / pseudonym will not be stored in the same digital archive as the transcriptions and audio recordings. Audio recordings will be deleted/destroyed following transcription. Data will be analyzed using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, NVivo, Scrivener, or other specialized software for qualitative data analysis. At the beginning and end of each interview the researchers will ask the participant for both verbal and written confirmation that it is acceptable to archive the interview transcript for future use. Each participant will be asked to note in writing any specific limits for use of her data. 

Use of previously processed data (secondary use). The longitudinal component of this study utilizes data collected during interviews conducted in Ireland (in 2014-15) and Poland (in 2015). Each participant has already provided written consent for archiving and ongoing use of her interview data, following the same procedure described above. These procedures were reviewed and approved by DIT’s Ethics Review Committee and by WUT’s Rector. These data have been and will be collected, stored, and processed in the ways stated above. Dr. Chance is the manager of these data, which are owned by Dr. Chance and the respective interview participant.

Privacy and data safety protection procedures. All individual information collected as part of the study will be anonymous—the identity of participants will be known only to the official research team. Data may be included in future conference presentations and publications, but at no time will it be possible to identify it as belonging to a specific individual. Information will be used solely for Dr. Chance’s research. It will be stripped of any personal identifiers and stored securely in password-protected electronic format pending possible continuation of the study. Data will be stored on two external backup hard drives and on UCL’s encrypted servers. Dr. Chance will provide Prof. Tyler with evidence that agreed-upon procedures for protection of personal data are being upheld during the Milestone reviews that occur every six months.

THIRD COUNTRIES

The only third country involved in this study is the USA. Ethical research standards and procedures are clear and well enforced in universities in the USA that will be involved in this study (Hampton University and the College of William and Mary). Procedures will follow those described above.

INFORMATION SHEET

DESIGINING ENGINEERS

Note: This is an example Information Sheet for Research Participants–the one that was actually used was updated to meet UCL specifications and all current GDPR regulations:

You are invited to participate in a research study about your experiences with project work, design, and design projects in engineering and/or architecture. The research team has received approval from your institution’s research ethics committee. Please read the following information before deciding whether or not to participate.

What are the objectives of the study? Dr. Shannon Chance is conducting this study because she wants to understand what it is like to be an engineering or architecture student, to experience project work, and to think about design and knowledge.

Why have you been asked to participate? You are engineering and/or architecture courses and you have experience of project work and/or design.

What happens if you agree to take part?

  • Information about you will be treated in strict confidence.
  • You will be asked to schedule a time for an interview at a time and place that suits you. You’ll be provided with Dr. Chance’s telephone/text number so that you can use it to make scheduling changes if necessary.
  • During the interview, we will chat about your experiences for about an hour. Before we start, you will be asked if it is okay to audio record what you say. You will be asked if you’d like a written copy of your interview for your records and/or to check for accuracy. Dr. Chance will also ask if she can keep your permanent email address and telephone number on file so that she can follow up with you in later years to talk again. (You can still participate in this study if you do not want to provide that information or if you don’t want her to keep it.)

Benefits of participating: The benefit of participation to you is the chance to talk about what you are going through in your engineering program—which can be a fun learning experience. By participating, you can also help teachers understand what it’s like to be an engineering student and how they can support students who are learning engineering and design.

Are there any risks involved in participation? There is very little risk associated with participation. In the unlikely event that talking about what you’re going through causes distress, Dr. Chance can help you locate support services or you can go directly to [TBD office or website at each university], which provides a list of support services available to students on your campus.

Participants’ rights:

  • Your participation in this research project will not influence your academic marks or your relationship with your institution in any way.
  • You may decide to stop being a part of this study at any time, and you do not need to explain why. You can omit or refuse to answer or respond to any question that is asked of you if you feel uncomfortable. If you decided to stop participating, you have the right to request that all data about be withdrawn from the study you (including the interview recordings, transcriptions, and contact information).
  • You have the right to have all your questions about the study and the research methods answered. If you have any questions as a result of reading this information sheet, please ask Dr. Chance before the study begins or email her at any time.

Confidentiality: Your identity will remain secret/anonymous. Your data may be included in future publications and conference presentations, but at no time will it be possible to identify it as yours. All information will be reported using pseudonyms (fictitious names, rather than real names). Your interview data will be stored using a code, and it will be kept separate from your actual name and contact information.

If you’d like to set any additional restrictions for use of your data and your contact information, please let Dr. Chance know now or at the end of the interview.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

If you want to find out more about the study or would like a summary of the results, you can contact:

Prof. Shannon Chance, [email and phone number were provided]

Prof. Nick Tyler, [email and phone number were provided]

Note: This is an example Consent Form–the one that was actually used was updated to meet UCL specifications and all current GDPR regulations:

CONSENT FORM

DESIGINING ENGINEERS

PLEASE CIRCLE YOUR RESPONSE TO EACH QUESTION

• I have read and understood the attached Information Sheet YES / NO

• I have had the opportunity to ask any questions I have about the study YES / NO

• I have received satisfactory answers to all my questions YES / NO

• I understand that my data will be used for research purposes and stored securely on a password protected device in a secure location until the end of the project, when they will be destroyed, unless I grant additional permission for their use below*. YES / NO

• I would like to receive a written copy of my interview transcript YES / NO

• I understand that I am free to withdraw from the study at any time YES / NO

without giving a reason and without this affecting my college studies

I agree to take part in the study YES / NO

You may, in addition, agree to have your interview transcript (without your name or any personal identifiers) archived for future similar research. Please read the note below and decide whether you wish to agree to this element:

I give my approval that these anonymous data concerning me may be stored or electronically processed for the purpose of scientific research and may be used in this research project, and, potentially, in other research studies in the future. (Any future use of the anonymous interview transcripts related to me would still be subject to approval by an independent ethical review body.)

Please tick        I agree [ ]          I do not agree [ ]

I make the following stipulations regarding the use of my data or length of time my data may be archived:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

If you want to find out more about the study or would like a summary of the results, you can contact:

Prof. Shannon Chance, [email and phone number were provided]

Prof. Nick Tyler, [email and phone number were provided]

DIT Research Ethics Committee notes from prior research:

  • For persons under 18 years of age the consent of the parents or guardians must be obtained or an explanation given to the Research Ethics Committee and the assent of the child/young person should be obtained to the degree possible dependent on the age of the child/young person. (For this study, we do not intend to recruit under-age participants.)
  • In some studies, witnessed consent may be appropriate. (We do not anticipate any need for witness consent.)
  • The researcher concerned must sign the consent form after having explained the project to the subject and after having answered his/her questions about the project.