Nearly 20 of us met in February to start planning our exhibition for Dublin Maker 2020. The big event is to be held on the 27th of June in Herbert Park, on the south-side of Dublin.
Last week, a portion of our team reassembled to get different people’s parts working together in a coordinated way. I’ve created a little video of that second prep session for you to enjoy.
One thing that worries me, though, is that all the stuff my colleagues have made looks so very cool, so incredibly professional, that visitors to our Dublin Maker booth will think they BOUGHT this ready-made. Not so.
For instance, Keith Colton (in the video with the bandaid on his thumb) used a 3D printer to make the car he’s holding. He made it from scratch.
Shane Ormond combined a whole bunch of cutting-edge technologies to get a tiny camera on top of his race car to feed video into the VR headsets and TV monitors, all the while controlling the car’s behavior from a hand-held device. He’s been sending us video updates from his house and it’s been cool to watch his car speed under sofas and chairs and around his lovely home.
When I tired driving, I couldn’t control the car too well–and I’m pretty used to driving sporty cars! In this case, the car didn’t quite have the handling of my 2004 Nissan Z350. The car was racing around at top speed and the VR googles made it all seem much too real!
Note in he video how Paul Leamy’s stomach turned when his car flipped over. Seemed real! You can see on the TV monitor, but viewed through VR goggles it’s all the more gripping.
So, see for yourself!
Come on out on June 27th to see where all this leads. Our team is just at the start and we plan to build a plethora of buses, stop lights, trams, and Dublin city sites for our cars to whizz though on Dublin Maker day 2020.
Most days, I find myself communicating with colleagues from afar on various projects, proposals, and ideas. On a typical day, I hear from Dr. Inês Direito in London (UK), Dr. Lelanie Smith in Pretoria (South Africa) and Dr. Carlos Efrén Mora Luis in Tenerife (Spain). We have many overlapping interests–one being how to understand student motivations and emotions and how to use this understanding to help students tackle and persist through challenges. I often hear from our co-author Dr. Bill Williams, from outside Lisbon (Portugal) as well.
In addition to engineering motivations, we are also all interested in sustainability — environmental, economic and social. So over the past few weeks, WhatsApp and Signal chats have been rich and frequent.
Today alone, Lelanie, Inês, and I discussed research plans. Inês, Bill, and I submitted a conference paper on Brexit (with Inês in the lead and comments from Bill and me). Inês and I refined a journal manuscript on engineering ethics (with me in the lead and verbal input from Inês — she will edit my current version in the morning).
Down in the Spanish Canaries, Carlos has been fighting sand storms, as dust from the Sahara Dessert enveloped the islands. The weekend’s sandstorms were one of a number of challenges he’s faced recently, but he’s never one to give up.
Carlos and I didn’t win the grant we applied for this past September, despite having put months into the proposal. We’ve picked ourselves up, brushed off the disappointment, and developed a plan to perfect and resubmit. I know all too well that resubmitting makes a world of difference! It’s the best way to win funding. Yesterday, I was rallying our troops, gathering support for a new round of work. I am confident that eventually we will succeed.
But we haven’t been sitting around waiting for success to come.
In December, Carlos submitted an additional grant proposal, this one to the Cabildo of Tenerife, Spain, for €56,000. He received funding for the project titled “INGENIA.” Carlos explained to me that the word “Ingenia” comes from “Ingenio,” which is “Ingenuity” in English. So the project is fostering “Ingenuity” to support sustainability education.
I’m honored that (as a result of me coaching him on how to write grant proposals) he included me as a co-PI.
On the 31st of January, Carlos and his colleagues in Tenerife launched his extremely well-designed INGENIA project. It was a true thrill when over 300 people attended his launch that Friday!
Carlos has summarized in English that “INGENIA wants to show that students can find sustainable solutions to real life problems linked to SDGs in Tenerife.” Students will build their own research teams and find a supervisor who will help manage the financial resources for their project.” In other words, the students “will have to find relevant problems and then propose solutions. The final part of the process is selling their solutions to companies and administrative public offices.”
Students will engineer their solutions and compete for funding to realize their projects. Below, I’ve included information that Carlos wrote to described the project, which is being conducted in Spanish. I can understand a bit by reading the Spanish materials he produced, but he was kind enough to translate for me/us!
The Spanish public universities agreed recently contributing to the 2030 Agenda by building and transferring knowledge and skills to society about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Universities can contribute with teaching, learning, and student-participation methods to transfer not just the skills, but the motivation needed to face the SDGs. Like other Spanish higher education institutions, University of La Laguna (ULL) endorsed the United Nations (UN) SDGs initiative, and has a detailed understanding of the importance of its local problems linked to the environmental, social, and economical sustainability of the Canary Islands.
INGENIA is a project coordinated by ULL that is focused on the needs of the local society in the Canaries that supports building knowledge and skills on the participating students. INGENIA uses Project-oriented Problem Based Learning (PoPBL) learning strategies to motivate the students to find and propose solutions to real problems linked to the SDGs around their own environment.
Train university and high school academic staff in using active learning strategies to impulse SDGs.
Educate postgraduate students, and academic staff, in facilitating techniques and strategies to guiding students in complex projects linked to SDGs.
Develop real student projects with a high potential for positive impact in the Canarian society.
INGENIA will be implemented in three stages:
Informative and training actions. Informative actions will include a conference to be held at ULL in its theatre showing how students can change the world. Training actions will include workshops with specialists in Engineering Education focused on PBL and the evaluation of the impact of student projects. Goal: Get teachers motivated to help students in writing their proposals. Each of these teachers will also serve as guarantors for a team of students, and guarantors will assume the financial responsibility of the projects they back.
Training of facilitators. A group of postgraduate students will receive specific training for PBL, Motivation, Conflict Management, and Project Management. Facilitators will collaborate with guarantors in guiding the student teams. Goal: Having at least one facilitator for each wining proposal.
Project development: INGENIA will include a call for proposals. Student teams must justify the relevance of the problem and the feasibility of their solutions. Winning teams will receive funding for their projects, and must execute their projects within two months. At the end of this period, each team will write a report to identify the impact of their solutions. Students will participate in a public exhibition in October 2020, and will also have the opportunity to show their solutions to companies and public institutions with the aim of getting additional funding to continue their projects.
Carlos explained that the 31st was a day full of feeling. One of the speakers told such a moving story that the audience shed tears of emotion. Specifically, two students described their experiences; the second of these is working with ‘invisible’ people, meaning people who appear in social statistics, but have no work, no home, and thus no address. Carlos said she did an excellent job transmitting her feelings. She said, for instance, “that one day, she cooked rice for homeless people, but she was so busy that she forgot to turn off the cooking plate.” The rice was damaged, but she salvaged and packed up as much rice us she could, and went to give it to people in the street in Tenerife. She gave a portion to one man, and stayed looking at him. As the man was eating that rice, he stopped, looked at her eyes, and said what a lovely smile she had.
When she finished her narrative at the launch, one retired professor raised his hand to say something, but when he tried to start broken into tears. He cited numbers — the number of people invisible to all of us — and then he said that he had lived this experience along with her, and that she had touched his heart. The student walked down from the stage and gave the professor a big embrace. All the assistants, students, and teachers in the audience started to applaud.
It is this sort of change Carlos hopes to inspire among more students, and this is the sort of communication I received from Carlos daily.
After the student’s talk, many people were in tears, including Carlos. But he couldn’t stop to weep: he was next up on the stage.
Carlos needed to explain details of the program and how it will run. He had to explain the schedule and what will be expected of the various people working together in teams — including the student team members as well as the post-graduate and faculty member (e.g., professors) advising each team.
Carlos said the event was so motivating, inspiring them all to go out and find problems to solve. He received oodles of questions from students and academics wanting to participate. He said “Yes, I still can’t believe it, but something positive happened today!”
I have included images that are copyright of the photographer, Emeterio Suárez Guerra, and used with permission of Carlos.
I’m posting a cheerful reminder to those interested in engineering education research that important deadlines are coming up for manuscripts on ethics and SEFI conference papers. These are great activities to get involved with!
Research papers shall present original studies in the field of Engineering Education Research. Authors may follow the standards for good practices in EER. Please add the names of the authors in the relative fields and add the abstract in the text field. The text shall NOT contain the names of the authors neither references, in order to ensure a double-blind review process.Please do not upload any file at this stage of submission.When preparing your abstract, you are kindly asked to consider the review criteria on the conference website.You can upload a full paper after your abstract is accepted. Maximum length of abstract: 250 wordsDeadline: 2nd Mar 2020, 02:00:00am CET, Time left: 8 days 14 hoursChair contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been a busy and exciting week here in Dublin. Monday at noon I was appointed as Programme Chair for the new BSc (Hon) in BIM (Digital Construction) at TU Dublin. We launched the programme at lunchtime today, Friday, just four days later. I had a lot of studying up to do to get up to speed to host the induction/orientation.
This course is for people who have a three-year Bachelors degree (called level 7 in Ireland–this is the standard Bachelors in Europe). They will have studied Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) for their first degree and want to learn about Building Information Modelling and upgrade to a four-year Honours level Bachelors (called level 8 in Ireland, and more like the Bachelors degrees offered in the USA). In the future, we will also accept people who have level 6 (apprentice) degrees and Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL).
So, today we held induction and welcomed 24 students into our first cohort!
This time next year, successful students will walk away with a BSc (Hons) and a host of new knowledge and skills related to digital construction.
My colleagues — Dr. Avril Behan, Mr. Kevin Furlong, Dr. Barry Mcauley, Ms. Deborah Brennan and others — were involved in designing this programme, and they even got a grant (Springboard+) to cover much of the cost for the 2020 cohort. They did all this work while I was away, working in London. What a truly lovely programme they have built!
It’s really needed here in Ireland — it’s great for the people taking the course who will gain valuable new skills — and it’s great for the Irish construction industry which desperately needs people skilled in BIM. I find this to be an extremely worthwhile project and I’m delighted to be part of it and to work with such a great team.
Here’s a press release from TU Dublin:
Technological University Dublin is delighted to announce the commencement of its level 8 BSc (Hons) in BIM (Digital Construction), designed and delivered by the same team who created TU Dublin’s award-winning MSc in aBIMM suite (ICE Postgraduate Course of the Year 2019). This programme is designed to meet the Lean Construction, BIM and digital transformation upskilling needs of holders of level 6 qualifications (including craft apprenticeship) plus industry experience, and of level 7 (ordinary degree) award holders in construction-related areas. Focussing on discipline-specific BIM modelling (architecture, construction, MEP engineering & structural engineering) and multidisciplinary co-ordination, underpinned by a Lean Construction philosophy, this programme will equip graduates with the skills necessary to take up roles as BIM Modellers, Technicians, and Coordinators with consultants, contractors, clients, and public sector bodies. The programme is delivered in blended format with attendance required on the Bolton Street Campus for one afternoon per week (typically Fridays from 12:30) from late January to late May with additional online delivery (one evening per week – evening tbc and depending on discipline). From September to December the programme is delivered fully online with a number of support face-to-face workshops.
TU Dublin secured 90% of the funding for places in this year’s cohort from the Irish Higher Education Authority’s Springboard+ programme. Thus, the cost to selected participants in 2020 is only €220.
The application deadline for this year has passed (it was was Monday January 13th 2020 for commencement at end of January). This first cohort will commence their coursework in January 2020 and walk away with diplomas in a highly marketable field of expertise (BIM and digital construction) in February 2020.
If you would like more info on the programme, please register your interest by emailing the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies <email@example.com>. Our school administrator can then send additional info as we prepare for upcoming cohorts.
It’s been a great start-of-semester and welcome-back here in Dublin. I’ve been settling back in at TU Dublin, since the first of the year. I’ve been learning to juggle a host of new job responsibilities along with my favorite existing projects. There’s so much work to be done!
In addition to teaching first-year engineering modules/courses, I have also been helping launch the new MSc in BIM, working on curriculum development (which buys out half my work time), finalizing research projects for publication, and drafting my final report for the 2018-12019 fellowship I had to UCL.
I’ve also attended a host of special events:
The launch of TU Dublin’s new strategic plan
A two-day conference on “Rethinking the Crit” in architecture and design education.
Tech support workshops for staff on Brightspace and Agresso
Personal wellbeing workshops for staff on insurance and personal finance.
A planning sessions with our ever-expanding RoboSlam team preparing for Dublin Maker 2020 (June 2020) and our upcoming Engineering Your Future week (May 2020)
TU Dublin’s new Strategic Plan
The unveiling of the strategic plan was quite well organized and inspiring. The speakers and panelists all did a great job explaining the shared aspirations of our academic community. I hope the details are as well done as the vision they presented.
Soon, I’ll read the plan and see how it matches up against the evaluation rubric I published back during my doc studies, which you can download here.
The take-home message of the strategic planning launch was that TU Dublin values diversity and inclusivity. The student voice was clear, strong and impressive. The leaders were well-spoken.
TU Dublin’s workshop on “Rethinking the Crit”
I attended a hands-on conference alongside architecture students from all over Ireland as well as teachers and critics from Ireland and abroad.
The workshop was organized by my College’s office for Learning Development, under the direction of Patrick Flynn, our Head of Learning Development. In many places, his role would be called Vice Dean for Academics, but DIT (the parent of TU Dublin) tended to do things its own unique way.
As I’m part of a team developing a brand new Architectural Engineering curriculum, this conference on how to improve the studio jury system was of great value to me. That Arch Eng course will graduate people ready for architecture licensing.
One of the presenters, Dr. Kathryn Anthony, literally wrote the book that got this conversation rolling: Design Juries on Trial. It was published in 1991 but there’s still a lot more uptake needed of her ideas across the globe. She collected data at Hampton University, where I used to teach, and at HU we used many of the techniques she proposed—with great success.
I hope to use techniques we discussed to help improve architecture education near and far.
My 24-month research fellowship at UCL has come to a close. December opened with farewell activities, end-of-year gatherings and conferences, holiday parties and goodbye events.
When work finished for the year, Aongus and I enjoyed the sights and sounds of London for Christmas. And, around New Year’s Day, we took to packing for our move back to Dublin.
I’ve included photos of a farewell breakfast (with my PhD student, Thomas Empson and co-supervisor Sushma Patel) with breath-taking views over London, special visitors, a December conference in Coventry for the UK-Ireland Engineering Education Network, the “leaving-do” hosted on my behalf by UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education, and some general holiday fun.
In wrapping up, I also delivered a lunchtime seminar at UCL about the research I’ve conducted and/or published over the past two years. You can view the Prezi I delivered here.
It’s been a whirlwind, but I have now moved back to Dublin and resumed my job teaching at TU Dublin (known as DIT when I left for the Fellowship). I’ve got plenty of fun new challenges on the horizon to keep me busy and always learning.
And, thankfully, Aongus has gotten a transfer from his company and will follow me over to Dublin soon!
PhD Breakfast from the Darwin Brasserie atop the “Walkie Talkie”
Colleagues visiting from South Africa
UK-Ireland Engineering Education Research Network conference
Full-length papers are due March 1, 2020 to begin the review process–but you can feel free to contact me anytime to request help or advice (irelandbychance at gmail dot com). Papers for this journal are 5,000 to 7,000 words, including the abstract and references.
I’m one of the two Guest Editors for this project; the Associate Editors are all members of the REEN board. The editorial team includes people from Australia, Africa, and South America, as well as Europe and the USA! The journal’s Editor in Chief is the coordinator for REEN’s upcoming symposium (REES 2021) in Perth, Australia December 5-8, 2021.
And, I’ve just started on as Chair of REEN for the next two years. Delighted to have worked with such a productive group of people representing every continent over the past two years, and looking forward to two more great years! We’ve just welcomed two new members to the board–Cindy Finelli (from Michigan, USA) and Aida Olivia Pereira de Carvalho Guerra (from Aalborg, Denmark)–to round out our crew.
Grit was defined by Angela Duckworth and it involves two parts: persistence (consistency of effort) and passion (consistency of interest).
We analyzed the data, results, and findings reported in each article. We carefully and critically considered each author’s discoveries and interpretations.
We used a highly structured approach to studying groups of papers on a common theme; this method is called a “systematic review” of literature on a given subject. We wanted to answer one main question: What type of studies have been conducted on grit in engineering higher education, and what were the main outcomes?
This is a new area of study among engineering education researchers and only 2 journal articles had been published by the time we were collecting data (spring 2018). On the other hand, 29 conference papers were available in the engineering and education databases we used.
The theory we are studying was developed by Angela Duckworth and is described in this book.
By studying the content and findings of these 31 papers, we were able to identify trends and unresolved questions. We made recommendations about things that need more investigation–and also about the best way to report findings to help make the reports more valuable to engineering educators and researchers.
Collaborating with Inês and Manish on this project was a joy–it was a huge challenge and realizing this publication required loads of grit–but doing this work with these budding scholars was also fun and rewarding. We decided to do this project together because we wanted to learn the systematic review method, execute it well, and learn about the psychological construct of “grit” at the same time.
Inês Direito, Shannon Chance & Manish Malik(2019)The study of grit in engineering education research: a systematic literature review,European Journal of Engineering Education,DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2019.1688256
Back in March 2019, I received an email out of the blue regarding a researcher in the Canary Islands, Dr. Carlos Efrén Mora, looking to recruit a mentor.
Specifically, Carlos wanted help writing a fellowship proposal to conduct Engineering Education Research on social responsibility, and he had contacted a Special Interest Group I work with as a member of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). This particular group studies Educational Research Methods and I’d mentioned at a meeting in 2018 that I was looking to help/host prospective fellows in Engineering Education Research.
Because Carlos was proposing a topic I have been studying for Engineers without Borders UK, I jumped at the chance to help. I emailed him right away and we set to work.
Carlos emailed me a copy of a proposal he’d previously submitted, and as I’ve successfully secured the funding under this scheme twice before, I reverted with more feedback and strategic advice.
Carlos and I worked tirelessly from March until the deadline for our target program in mid-September.
It was a grueling process, but Carlos is extremely hard-working. I must say that Carlos enthusiastically accepted every ounce of critique that I and my colleagues doled out, and he used it to improve his plans and ideas. The ability to welcome criticism is rare but so very important. It’s one of the most important skills I learned in architecture school! Carlos has it, too!
To make sure Carlos had the best chance to win funding, I assembled a team of superstar researchers and advisors. Their job: to poke holes in all his arguments and make sure the content was in the right places (ie, the places the evaluators will expect to find them while they are scoring his work).
I was elated with the results. In all, I believe we have an excellent chance of receiving funding to conduct research together–I as his mentor/supervisor/PI and he as a full-time research fellow working aside me at TU Dublin, hopefully starting in August 2020.
The text of the proposal is exceptional. The scientific merit is clear, the work plan is strong, the planned secondment is second to none, and the early-stage researcher has shown outstanding promise. He has a dedicated mentor by his side–one who is working hard to build her own research record and raise the visibility and credibility of EER globally.
Since we submitted in mid-September, Carlos has already secured some financial support from his own university to start some of the work.
Visiting London’s Carnaby Street with the Mora family
Though al that is exciting, we are currently in the no-mans-land called the grant evaluation period. Researchers work for months on end to craft a research proposal. They send it off with the greatest of hope in their hearts. And then they wait and wait, and wait–often at least half a year–to hear back.
Typical success rates for the program we’ve requested run 9-14%.
What to do while waiting? Celebrate!
After we got the proposal submitted, Carlos brought his family up to London from the Canaries to meet me. Carlos and I held a work meeting on the first day of their stay.
This was the first trip off their Islands for the Mora kids, and I was delighted to be part of their big adventure. (The whole family has been getting excited about the possibility of spending a couple years in Dublin! They came to London this time since it’s where I am currently working.)
Pre-dinner photo shoot. Beautiful food!
I planned one of the four days of their visit, and, as usual, I packed too much in. We all did new things–I’d never eaten Ramen before but Celia said it would be “a dream come true” so we all agreed!
Our lively chatter silenced when the food arrived for dinner.
We soon unanimously agreed again: we will be eating Ramen together again in Dublin ASAP. It was delicious!
The photo album below starts with a photo from the Canaries and another taken at the airport–Carlos sends me family updates regularly and it’s fun seeing the kids grow!