Sharing research at EERN

The Engineering Education Research Network (EERN) for the UK and Ireland met today at Newcastle University. Since one third of the presentations at this colloquium were delivered by DIT’s research group called CREATE (for Contributions to Research in Engineeing and Applied Technology Education), I got to catch up with my beloved colleagues from Dublin.

Yesterday, Emma Whitney, a colleague at UCL asked me to Tweet the events since three of us from UCL were attending. She gave me a few pointers for Tweeting, and I gave it a go.

@shannonchance7 has never had much success with Twitter. But with Emma’s tips I was able to do a respectable job (although I can’t get Twitter working now, on the train back to London, so perhaps I downed the platform!?).

It was great hearing about the #engineeringeducation #educationresearch folks are doing across Ireland and the UK.

This was the first EERN event with specific discussions to help support and guide PhD students and early-career/newer researchers. I actually feel that we’re all new to this! It’s an emerging field of research and were working hard to establish the methods, publications, conferences, and knowledge-sharing networks.

I’m delighted to be part of such a vibrant community, dedicated to improving the student experience and the quality of learning. I’ve uploaded photos of the conference and also of my morning exploration in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It’s a lovely little city and I’ll hope to return again some day.

Able Nyamapfene from UCL.

The DIT CREATE contingent. DIT’s Una Beagon. Rebecca Broadbent from Astin University. DIT’s Darren McCarthy. DIT’s Gavin Duffy. EERN colloquium organizers, Jane Andrews and Roger Penlimgton. Shannon, Darren, Rachel, Robert, Una, Brian (with Gavin MIA for the selfie)

Using Architecture Design Studio Pedagogies to Enhance Engineering Education

Shannon Chance IJEEI’m celebrating the publication of a new journal article today, with the help of Sally O’Neill. She’s one of the librarians here at DIT, and she secured permission and posted the article on DIT’s website, making it free for you and anyone else to download.

The publishing process is glacially slow. I submitted the paper in March 2014, based on a conference paper delivered in 2013. And here I am, in February 2016, with the final publication finally in hand.

Many time, in research, it takes time to see the results of your work. Seeing this in print helps make all these days, sitting at a computer analyzing text, feel more worthwhile. Once I can see that people are downloading it, and once I start getting feedback and citations in other people’s research papers, I’ll celebrate some more.

I know what I’ve learned through this research is useful, because I get to apply it in the classroom and in the design studio. The rewards of printed research are more slow to crystallize but also extremely important, especially for people who want to gain credibility in research and build a career around research.

This new article, written with the help of John Marshall in Michigan and Gavin Duffy here in Dublin, is about Using Architecture Design Studio Pedagogies to Enhance Engineering Education. Simply put, we believe that design education and hands-on forms of learning can help improve the quality and experience of learning in engineering and other STEM disciplines. The results reported in this paper provide support for that claim.

To give you a feel for what I’m describing, this is how we learn in architecture:

Above are pictures from design studios in Lisbon at IST and one for a study abroad program  offered by Hampton University. Very, very hands-on!

These days I’m helping promote similar ways of teaching engineering, which looks similar in many respects:

These are photos from electrical and mechanical engineering projects I’ve helped conduct at Dublin Institute of Technology.

This brand new article is about a specific design studio, conducted at the University of Michigan, that blurred the boundaries distinguishing art and science. It involved students and teachers from architecture, materials science engineering, and art+design working together to design and build “SmartSurfaces.” The paper reports learning outcomes — things the students learned in the  class — as illustrated by the blogs they posted during the semester. Here’s a glimpse of what that experience was like for those students:

For this new paper, I created a matrix to describe design behaviors in relationship to epistemological development (which has to do with how we view knowledge). I compared what the students wrote in their blogs to the definitions in my chart. Doing this, I was able to identify development of design skills as a result of students working in groups, and I even pinpointed some instances of epistemological development. John and Gavin helped check the work so that it would be more credible and reliable. They offered perspectives of insiders in the studio (John) and outsiders interested in group-based learning, Problem Based Leaning (PBL), engineering education, and epistemological development (Gavin).

This article should be of interest to any teacher who wants to help students develop new design, design thinking, or epistemological skills. Please feel free to read it and email me any questions you have, at irelandbychance [at] gmail [dot] com.

Chance, S., Marshall, J. and Duffy, G. (2016) Using Architecture Design Studio Pedagogies to Enhance Engineering EducationInternational Journal of Engineering Education Vol. 32, No. 1(B), pp. 364–383, 2016.

Discussing Development… of College Students

I just made my annual appearance at the class on theories about college students’ development taught by Dr. Jim Barber. Last year I got to be there in person, but this year it was back to Skype.

Fortunately, the new version of Skype allows for screen sharing. It is always a bit disorienting for me to deliver guest lectures online, but I don’t think it was too painful for the audience tonight — on account of this new technology.

Presentation to W&M SoE

Today at DIT, my research project is fully underway, and every day I’m drawing from the theories I learned in this very informative class that I had the good fortune to take, way back in 2006, at The College of William and Mary.

Tonight, I discussed two research methods I’ve been using — the first using template analysis and the second using descriptive phenomenology. If you’d like to view the Prezi I presented, you can click here.

The best part of the evening was that the William and Mary grad students — 22 in all — had lots and lots of questions. I couldn’t gauge exactly how well I was connecting with the folks in the back row (who contributed lots of great questions) because the resolution was only so/so, but I have been loving that the fact that my Skype/Messenger/iMessage/MagicJack technology has been improving every day!

It’s five hours later in Dublin than back in Virginia, so the evening is quite well worn here. And since I’ve got a researcher “media training” workshop in the morning, I’d better hit the sack now…. Adieu, Adieu, To you and you and yo-u!

Prezi cover shot

Seminar in the Making

Today’s an interesting and fairly typical day… morning yoga, transcribing, fairly successful bike ride/commute, book discussion with Gavin, lunch meeting with engineering lecturers, introductions with administrative leaders in engineering.

We are preparing for a seminar that all of us will present to the College faculty in a couple of weeks. Evidentially, some things Gavin and I discussed with the Dean (while we were in Greece) interested him enough to prompt a seminar.

Later today, I’ll head to an event on “stories” at Notre Dame’s O’Connell House. For now, reading in the office.

Here’s a photo of some of the engineers I met with (Dave, Ted, and Gavin). We took lunch in the staff cafeteria in the top floor of “Kevin Street” (i.e., the DIT building located on Kevin Street).

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