AAEE 2007 Keynote Speakers

Dan Budny and Teresa Larkin: Writing: An Active Learning Tool in STEM Education

Tuesday 11 December, 10:15–11:15, ICT Theatre 1

Session chair: Euan Lindsay

A primary goal of this presentation will be to introduce attendees to the value of using writing as a teaching tool in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The educational benefits of adapting a writing approach in the classroom have been widely documented. Writing can serve as a tool to improve the quality of teaching as well as to promote deeper and more meaningful student learning. During this presentation we will explore various strategies in which writing can be used to enhance student understanding in introductory physics and engineering classrooms by summarizing three unique projects designed to address the role of writing in terms of the assessment of student learning.

Strategies employed within introductory physics courses for non-majors at American University as well as strategies employed within freshman introduction to engineering courses at the University of Pittsburgh will be described. Highlights of the curriculum developed in each course will be shared. Through the description of the curricula and strategies developed for use in two very different environments, we hope to provide other educators in both science and engineering with useful tools to assist them in developing and/or enhancing the use of writing within their own classrooms. Results from feedback questionnaires given to students will also be highlighted.

One writing strategy involves the use of writing as a means of helping students to uncover and then confront their conceptions (or misconceptions) regarding topics being covered in an introductory level physics course (Physics for the Modern World) for non-majors at American University. The techniques to be presented have been designed to be easily adaptable to introductory as well as more advanced courses for majors in all areas of science, engineering, mathematics and technology. This approach involves the use of "folder activities". Folder activities are one- to two-pages of writing submitted to the instructor in a two-pocket folder. These activities can serve as formative assessment tools. The content and structure of the folder activities vary, depending on the goals and objectives for a particular content area. For example, for some assignments students are asked to explain a problem or concept that was discussed during a class session. Thus, students essentially have the answer to the problem in their hands when they write up this type of assignment. The rational for this type of activity is that learning can be enhanced when students take on the role of teacher through their detailed responses and explanations. For other assignments students are sometimes asked to write (and actively think) about a question that pertains to content yet to be discussed during a class. As a result, students are better able to tune-in when the question resurfaces during a later class session.

A second writing strategy to be presented is employed with freshman engineering students at the University of Pittsburgh. During each fall semester, students perform a number of writing assignments that are designed to meet the instructional objectives of the academic, the advising, the writing center, and the library programs within the University of Pittsburgh's School of Engineering. The writing projects are essentially the result of a network of collaboration between Freshman Programs, Freshman Advising, the University Writing Center, and the Engineering Library. The writing projects are designed to help foster a student-centered learning environment in which freshmen engineers are assisted to better learn how to use communication software packages, develop research skills, make informed decisions about their future educational and career goals in engineering, and help them discover what a career in engineering actually entails.

The final strategy to be shared involves a writing technique developed to bring science and engineering topics to the forefront in an introductory physics course (Physics for a New Millennium) at American University in Washington, DC as well as in a freshman engineering course at the University of Pittsburgh. The technique employed in both courses requires students to go through the entire process of researching, writing, and presenting a scientific paper to an audience of their peers. Over the course of a given semester, students are exposed to all aspects of preparing a professional paper for publication. The process includes: the submission of an abstract, the preparation of a draft paper for formal peer review, and the preparation of a revised, camera-ready copy for publication in the conference proceedings. Students then present their final papers at a conference held at the end of the semester. During this presentation, a summary of the curriculum devised for both writing projects will be presented. Samples of student writing projects from each course will also be shared. In addition, links will be made to the importance of making science and engineering topics more accessible to majors as well as to non-majors through the active process of writing.

Time permitting, we will conclude with a brief overview of a number of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs). CATs were first developed to help bridge the gap between what is taught and what is learned. CATs are formative assessments, designed to uncover the knowledge students bring with them into the classroom. CATs allow instructors to get a clearer idea of where the students are and, thus, where to begin instruction. They are non-threatening teaching & learning tools that require students to be active participants and to take responsibility for their own learning.

Dan Budny joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty as Academic Director of the Freshman Programs and an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering in January 2000. He had been Associate Professor at Purdue University. He holds the B.S. and M.S. degree from Michigan Technological University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University. His research has focused on the development of programs that assist entering freshman engineering students, including academically disadvantaged students, succeed during their first year. Of particular note are the highly successful counseling and cooperative learning programs for first-year students that he created within the Freshman Engineering Departments at Purdue University and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Budny has numerous publications and presentations on engineering education. At Purdue, he was widely recognized for outstanding teaching, receiving the Innovation in Helping Students Learn Award, the Purdue Student Government Chapter Advisor Award, the University Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Engineering Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (twice), the Civil Engineering best teacher award, the Freshman Engineering Department's best Counselor Award (three times), and the Freshman Engineering Department's best Teacher Award (four times). He was selected as a Founding Fellow of the Purdue University Teaching Academy. Dr. Budny has also been awarded the 1996 ASEE Dow Young Educator Award, the 1994 ASEE Sectional Teaching Award, the 1998 Illinois Indiana Outstanding Service Award, 1998 ASEE Ronald Schmitz Outstanding Service Award, the 1992 FIE Ben Dasher Award and the 2001 Carnegie Science Center University/Post Secondary Educator Award for Excellence, the 2002 INTERTECH Engineering Education Award, the 2003 ICECE Engineering Education Award, the 2004 World Congress on Engineering and Technology Education Award and the past year was a member of the team that was awarded the 2004 The Institute for International Education (IIE) Andrew Heiskell Award For Innovation in International Education. Because of his accomplishments, he has also been asked to give a number of teaching workshops on and off his campus. On the professional level, Dr. Budny is very active in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) within the Freshman Programs and the Educational Research and Methods Divisions (ERM), and was on the ASEE national board of directors. He served as the 1999 Frontiers in Education Conference General Chair. At the Sectional level, he has held the positions: Treasurer, 1995 Conference Program Co-Chairman and Chair of the Section. Within the Freshman Programs Division he has held the positions: 1994 ASEE Annual Conference Vice-Program Chair, 1995 ASEE Annual Program Chair, Chair of the Division, and Director. Within The ERM Division, he has also held the positions: Director, Newsletter Editor, 1996 and 2006 ASEE Annual Conference Vice Program Chair, 1997 and 2007 ASEE Annual Conference Program Chair, 1995 Frontiers in Education Conference Co-Program Chair, 1999 Frontiers in Education Conference General Chair and Proceedings editor for the 1995 through 2007 FIE Conferences.

Teresa Larkin is an Associate Professor of Physics Education in the Department of Computer Science, Audio Technology, and Physics. She also serves as Faculty Liaison to the Pre-engineering Program at American University. Dr. Larkin received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Physics from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD in 1982 and 1985, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with special emphasis in Physics and Science Education from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS in 1997. Dr. Larkin's research interests primarily involve the assessment of student learning in introductory physics courses. She makes use of writing as a learning and assessment tool for understanding how non-majors learn physics. Embedded within this research is the study of how the formal assessment of student learning styles can enhance learning in physics. An additional focus of her research involves studying the role of technology as an assessment and learning tool. Dr. Larkin has been an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for over 20 years. She served on the AAPT Minorities in Physics Committee 1997-2000, was Chair of the Physics and Engineering Physics Division 1994-1996 and 1998-2004, and was Chair of the Women in Engineering Division 2000-2002. Dr. Larkin served on the Board of Directors for ASEE 1997-1999 as Chair of Professional Interest Council III (PIC III) and as Vice President of Professional Interest Councils. In 1998 she received the Distinguished Educator and Service Award from the Physics and Engineering Physics Division of ASEE. She served as a National Science Foundation ASEE Visiting Scholar during the 2000-2001 academic year. In April 2000 Dr. Larkin was awarded the Outstanding Teaching in the General Education Program Award from American University. In March 2002 Dr. Larkin received an award from the International Conference on Engineering and Technology Education (ICECE2002) held in Santos, Brazil in recognition of her Distinguished Contributions to the Enhancement of Engineering and Technology Education in the World. She received an ICECE2003 award in recognition of Meritorious and Distinguished Services for the Betterment of Education and Science in the World. Dr. Larkin received the Meritorious Services & Significant Contributions in the Engineering and Technology Field in the World and at the Betterment of Contemporary Society award at the World Congress on Engineering and Technology Education (WCETE2004) held in Guarujá, Brazil. She was awarded the Excellence Award in Recognition of Merit Determined by Overall Contributions to the International Community of Engineering and Technology Education in the World at the Global Congress on Engineering and Technology Education (GCETE2005) held in Santos, Brazil. Dr. Larkin received the Excellence Award in Recognition of Meritorious Services and Outstanding Contributions in the Fields of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology Education in the 21st Century at the World Congress on Computer Science, Engineering, and Technology Education (WCCSETE 2006) held in Itanhaém, Brazil. Dr. Larkin recently received an Honoring Award in Recognition of Extraordinary Achievements and Contributions to the Fields of Engineering and Computer Education Worldwide at the International Conference on Engineering and Computer Education (ICECE2007) in Santos/Monguaguá, Brazil. In her free time, Dr. Larkin enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family, including the family cat, Mikaela Rose. She also enjoys preparing (and especially eating) Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, and Thai cuisines. Dr. Larkin can be reached at: American University, Department of Computer Science, Audio Technology, and Physics, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20016-8058; 202-885-2766. [tlarkin@american.edu]

Ian Cameron: Engineering Practice and Education — Can We Ever Get It Right?

Monday 10 December, 9:20–10:10, ICT Theatre 1

Session chair: Roger Hadgraft

Engineering theory and practice have been in a state of constant change over the last 2 centuries, with wild swings in what might be termed the "theory-practice" pendulum. Much has been written on the drivers of those large changes but it still leaves current and future engineering educators with the challenge of how to address these important formational attributes in graduates. I suggest that to answer this challenge we need to consider the 3 Ps associated with the practice issue: People, Places and Processes.

In this presentation, the importance and the interrelations amongst these key elements are explored, exemplars discussed and future challenges outlined. Engineering practice is a curriculum challenge that inevitably connects teaching, research and industry to ensure synergistic learning outcomes for engineering programs. It is vital that we have engineering curricula established on the firm foundations of research that at the same time provide a truly motivating learning environment which leads to engineers fully capable of addressing major national and global socio-technical challenges.

Ian Cameron is the former head of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland and an inaugural Senior Fellow of Australia's Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. He is leading a project on the effective integration of engineering theory and practice in higher education.

Ian completed Chemical Engineering degrees at UNSW and UWash. He worked for 10 years for the CSR Group in diverse industry sectors such as sugar, building materials and industrial chemicals. He obtained his PhD from Imperial College London in the area of Process Systems Engineering and then worked for 3 years as a UNIDO process engineering consultant in Argentina and a further 6 years in Turkey on a part-time basis. He has spent the last 20 years in research, consulting, teaching and learning innovation at the University of Queensland, having received numerous awards including the J.A. Brodie Medal of the IEAust, Australian Award for University Teaching in Physical Sciences 2003 and the Prime Minister's Award for University Teacher of the Year. He was part of the team from UQ Chemical Engineering that won a prestigious AAUT institutional award in 2005 for educational enhancement via curriculum innovation. He has published over 200 international journal and conference papers. He is the author of a process systems modelling book, used in over 30 countries as well as a book giving a comprehensive treatment of industrial process risk management.

Robin King: The Engineering Education Review: Issues and Prospective Outcomes

Monday 10 December, 10:10–10:35, ICT Theatre 1

Session chair: Roger Hadgraft

The current review, managed under the auspices of the Australian Council of Engineering Deans, supported by Engineers Australia, and funded by the Carrick Institute as one of several discipline-based projects, is due to report in February 2008. More than 1000 students, graduates, employers, members of the profession and engineering academics have contributed to the facilitated consultations, and made submissions to the Review. The dominant underlying issues are that the employer demand for engineers at all levels is not being met by graduate supply, while the demand for our engineering programs by prospective school leavers is not increasing signficantly. The review has revealed significant concerns around the preparation of school students in mathematics and science and the lack of visibility of engineering within schools and society at large. The fundamental question of defining the characteristics or "culture" of Australian Engineering has been raised by many, while many also consider now to be a time of great potential and opportunity for engineering education. The sheer diversity of engineering practice has been revealed as a major challenge to the current engineering education system. Typical graduates, though, are generally considered to be able to express many of the generic attributes sought in the 1995-96 review, published under the title "Changing the Culture"; indeed one senior employer has described the best engineering graduates as being "bloody marvellous". This presentation will discuss the major findings of the review, and indicate the directions that the recommendations are likely to take.

Robin King is Emeritus Professor at the University of South Australia and has led many initiatives in engineering education. At the University of Southampton he was Director of the Enhanced Engineering course program, and was instrumental in developing multidisciplinary projects into the curriculum. At the University of Sydney, he developed a new multidisciplinary curriculum in speech technology.

Anette Kolmos: Assessment of Process Skills and Complex Knowledge

Wednesday 12 December, 8:30–9:30, ICT Theatre 1

Session chair: Brian Stone

This keynote will address assessment of especially process skills and complex knowledge and the question how process skills and complex learning can be assessed. In Denmark, a situation occurred, giving the opportunity to compare assessment systems used for Problem-Based and Project-Based Learning (PBL): 1) group-based assessment and 2) individual assessment. Based on experiences from faculty staff, external examiners and students, the results comparing these two assessment systems show that the individual exam compared to a group exam does not test out the same level of process skills and complexity.

Anette Kolmos is Professor in Engineering Education and PBL and holds the UNESCO Chair in Problem Based Learning at Aalborg University. Dr. Kolmos holds a Ph.D. in "Gender, Technology and Education" (1989). During the last 20 years, she has researched the following areas, primarily within engineering education: Change to PBL curriculum, development of transferable skills, and staff development. Dr. Kolmos is associate editor for the Journal for Engineering Education, ASEE and is on several journal editorial boards. She has served as member of several advisory boards. She is coordinator for the EU-project, Socrates project, PBL-Engineering that is developing the master programme "Problem Based Learning in Engineering and Science".

David Radcliffe: Engineering Education Research: Building a Global Community

Tuesday 11 December, 14:00–15:00, ICT Theatre 1

Session chair: David Smith

This presentation will address three related questions: What constitutes rigorous research in engineering education? What are the challenges in achieving interdisciplinary research in engineering education? How might we grow the global community of researchers and scholars in engineering education? It will draw on experiences in Australia and the USA working at the interface between the academy and industry and between different academic disciplines. This exploration of research in engineering education will tease out many unspoken assumptions about the nature and characteristics of the emergent discipline of engineering education.

David Radcliffe is a Professor of Engineering Education in the Department of Engineering Education at Purdue University in the USA. He leads an education initiative through the nanoHUB as part of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology involving Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Berkeley, U Texas El Paso and Norfolk State. Formally he was the Thiess Professor of Engineering Education at the University of Queensland. He is the PI of the Advanced Engineering Capability Network and co-PI on the Carrick supported, Next Generation Learning Spaces project.

David has a PhD in bioengineering from Strathclyde and BE and MEngSc in Mechanical Engineering from UQ. His teaching and research interests span design, sustainable systems, engineering education and professional development and knowledge management. He established the Catalyst Research Centre for Society and Technology, whose aim is to create innovative, sustainable solutions to complex social and technological challenges facing industry and the community, through the fusion of social science and engineering perspectives. David was an Inaugural National Teaching Fellow in 1995 and the first Australian Boeing Welliver Fellow in 1999. He was Principal Investigator on the Australasian Virtual Engineering Library project which led to the development of the Sustainability Knowledge Network.

Lizzie Webb: The EWB Challenge: An Example of Best Practice — How a Successful Scheme Can Make a Real Difference to Students

Tuesday 11 December, 9:00–9:45, ICT Theatre 1

Session chair: Euan Nichol

The EWB Challenge is a national design competition for first-year university students. It aims to develop students' core competencies through team-based design projects focused on sustainable development. The student projects are presented in a way that makes their learning experience meaningful and enjoyable.

Participating universities integrated the EWB Challenge design scenario and projects into their first year program. EWB presented the students with a range of design projects identified by one of their partner organisations. The projects are real problems faced by real people in need. The students’ ideas contribute towards the work of their partner organisation.

The 2007 EWB Challenge design brief required university students to provide advice on the most appropriate engineering works that will assist the sustainable development of the Uluru Children’s Home. Uluru Children’s Home is located in Alampara Village, in southern India and cares for 34 destitute and abandoned children. EWB has been working with The East West Overseas Aid Foundation (TEWOAF) since December 2004 to develop computer and internet facilities for Uluru Children's Home.

Six finalist teams will present their design to a multidiscipline judging panel at a special session during the AAEE conference. The winners of the 2007 EWB Challenge will win $3000 in prize money and have the opportunity to participate in an International Study Tour of India incorporating a visit to TEWOAF. The students’ design will contribute to solve a real-world problem for people with a genuine need.

The EWB Challenge represents an effective and balanced collaboration between universities, industry and not-for-profit organisations. This collaboration has been deliberatively encouraged to enhance the value of the program. The EWB Challenge is supported by Thiess, The East West Overseas Aid Foundation, Australasian Association for Engineering Education, Engineers Australia and The Australia Council of Engineering Deans.

Lizzie Webb is the Director of Education, Training and Research for Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB). She completed a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at The University of Queensland and then spent three years as a consulting engineer in the water sector. Lizzie then became involved with Engineers Without Borders Australia and spent six weeks in India with Oxfam Australia. This trip introduced her to the concepts of appropriate technology and community empowerment. She returned convinced that education is one of the most powerful tools we have to drive local and global change. She now coordinates EWB's education programs, working with members all over Australia to deepen the engineering profession's understanding of the role of technology in driving sustainable development. Lizzie is passionate about empowering engineers to take on a greater leadership role in driving change. She is inspired by students and young professionals who take on this responsibility and take action.