Steiner 1 Line of Inquiry After exploring genres common to the field of engineering through a preliminarygenre analysis, I continued analyzing the language and genres of my field by researchingone of the building blocks of becoming an engineer. I gathered articles relating to theeducation of engineering that makes one become a successful engineer. Through myresearch I found sources discussing the application of new technologies in engineeringeducation (Delale, F et al. (2011); Orange, A et al. (2012); Borrego, M, Lindsay, E,&Madhavan, K. (2011)), the different learning styles of engineers (Felder, R, &Silverman, L. (1988); Kolmos, A, &Holgaard, J. (2003); Holvikivi, J. (2007)), as wells asthe various teaching methods involved in engineering education (Bernhard, J.(1997);Goh, S. (2012); Felder, R et al. (2000); Courter, S et al. (1996)). These sources havehelped me to identify the various aspects of what is involved in the education ofengineers in relation to the field of engineering. In addition, these articles have helped mecontinue exploring the genre conventions that I will need to learn as I enter a newcommunity through my major. These articles offer information on how engineers think,learn, speak, and how they work with arising technology, which is crucial for anyone toknow that is entering that profession. I decided to explore this topic because I felt that trying to understand the methodsbehind education in engineering would clarify the ways in which a person would becomean engineer, like I hope to be. Researching the education involved is crucial inunderstanding the field. Through researching the field of engineering education you learnabout the teaching methods involved and about the people in the field itself. Engineering
Steiner 2education is the foundation of what creates an engineer, and through exploring this topicyou learn how that foundation comes into fruition.Learning styles of engineers and effect on engineering education The understanding of learning styles when developing a curriculum has adramatic effect on education in engineering. Some sources suggest that ones teachingstyle is a determinant on ones education in engineering (Holvikivi.2007; Felder &Silverman.1988; Kolmos& Halgaard.2003). Felder and Silverman assert that due to thediverse learning styles of engineering students form the need of teaching styles shapedaround those learning styles. These teaching styles have a dramatic effect on the qualityof ones learning. Although most engineers are active, sensing and visual learners, thereare many that have different learning styles. Kolmos and Holgaard suggest that thesediverse learning styles are due to the existence of different engineering fields. Because ofthe variety of fields, there exist all different types of engineers, each type with their ownunique learning style. In the class setting the "performance of an individual student in aclass depends on a staggering variety of factors", many of which are caused by theindividual learning style that one possesses (2003). In order to reduce the negativeimpact of these factors, Kolmos and Holgaard agree that an educator in engineering mustmold their teaching methods into an effective way to address different learning stylespresent in the students of the course. JaanHolvikivi also address that education requires an in depth analysis onlearning styles to improve educational courses in engineering. She acknowledges the fact,however, that "engineering students represent different types of learners; each student has
Steiner 3their own special abilities, skills and capabilities" (2007). Through this Holvikivi issimply expressing that each student may be familiar with different technologies, can havedifferent methods of approaching results, and can think in a completely different mindsetas opposed to someone in another field. Knowing this is important because educatorsneed to realize that truly understanding the minds of their students is nearly impossiblewithout in depth research. Holvikivi uses data collected from learning style tests to showthe typical learning styles of engineers. In her data engineers typically showed similarresults, but in the data there were many individuals who showed other learning styles.The problem is that educators cannot completely address all of the needs of the individualstudents. Although it is nearly impossible, educators in engineering can still do their bestto address the general minds of engineers. Learning styles are a way of defining the best forms of education in which astudent will respond. Addressing learning styles in the classroom is an effective way ofcreating an efficient course. Felder and Silverman, show that there are diverse learningstyles in engineering that need to be addressed when creating teaching methods. Kolmosand Holgaard state that this diversity is caused by the varying fields in the profession,which explains Holvikivi’s idea that there is not a general learning style for all engineers.The above authors all agree that understanding the learning styles of an engineer iscompletely necessary in developing a curriculum, but while Holvikivi believes it isimportant, she states that the fact remains that educators cannot truly understand thelearning styles of engineers. While this is true, trying to develop courses using thelearning style that applies to most engineers in that field is still important.Teaching Methods of Engineering Education
Steiner 4 In engineering education it is important for educators to create efficient teachingmethods for to teach their students. Some sources assert that engineering educationrequires certain methods of teaching for the development of efficient courses(Bernhard.1997; Felder et al.2000; Goh.2012; Courter et al.1996). Bernhard suggests thatthe main concern in teaching engineering is creating efficient methods that “teachstudents how to think independently, solve problems, and innovate" (1997). Specificallyshe is just stating that the overall goal of engineering education is to create those efficientmethods of teaching. Professors use various methods in education different from that ofothers in their field in order to fulfill the challenges Bernhard stated, including the use of"Star Power" by Goh. "Star Power" was once used for other means, but Goh tried toapply it to engineering as he believes that "although Star Power is normally played from asociology context, current survey suggests that the game can provide a simulation topractice professional skills that are relevant to an engineer"(2012). Simply, Goh tries toexplain that his out of the ordinary teaching methods, do in fact have practicalapplications in engineering education. Through the game “Star Power”, Goh wanted toteach professional skills to rising mechanical engineers. While Gohs teaching methodseems out of the ordinary, the teaching methods described by Felder et al and Courter etal, are basic forms of teaching that were designed to provide efficient courses. In thearticle written by Felder et al they emphasize key components of the education thatinclude formulating and publishing clear instructional objectives, establishing relevanceof course material and teach inductively, balancing concrete and abstract information inevery course, promoting active learning, using cooperative learning, giving challengingbut fair tests, and conveying a sense of concern about the students learning. Keeping
Steiner 5these key components in mind, there is still the issue that the “performance of anindividual student in a class depends on a staggering variety of factors, many of whichare out of the instructor’s control” (2000). Usually this is the case, but through writingthis article the authors hoped to describe teaching methods that can benefit theengineering curriculum. The College of Engineering needs to educate students to thepoint where they are comfortable in that field and develop a teaching method that fits astudents learning style. In the article written by Courter et al, they state that the mainmission in engineering courses is to "create, integrate, transfer, and apply engineeringknowledge"(1996). Simply, this is just acknowledging the some of the main goalsinvolved engineering education. The authors describe that when keeping these goals in mind, one can develop aneffective teaching method that addresses each of these goals. Each article addresses theimportance of teaching methods and their impact on ones education, and although theseteaching methods vary they address the goals of ones education in engineering. All of mysources describe their own teaching method, where Bernhard describes several teachingmethods that applies to the different levels of education, while in the articles by Felder etal, Goh, and Courter et al, they describe simply general teaching methods for the overalleducation.Use of applying new technology in engineering education While creating the curriculum and the teaching methods for engineeringeducation, keeping the infusion of new technology in mind is important. Sincetechnology is a huge part of the engineering career, its application in the education is
Steiner 6important so that students will feel experienced after that education. Some sources claimthat the application of new technology in the engineering curriculum is crucial inengineering education (Delale et al; Orange et al; Borrego, Lindsay, &Madhavan). In thearticle written by Delale et al, they assert that due to the new emerging technologies, theengineering curriculum is in constant need of reform in order to include theseinnovations. While most key concepts have stayed consistent in engineering education,new technology provides new methods of education and for effective teaching methods itis important to include the infusion of new technologies within the curriculum. The use ofnew technology provides new ways of teaching and revolutionizes the ways in whichstudents learn. According to Orange et al, students overall have higher success inengineering courses that use higher education technologies, which include videosolutions, course blogs, course wikis, and lecture podcasts. Infusing these technologiesinto certain schools provided positive results, showing the potential use of emergingtechnologies. One of the biggest revolutions in engineering education is the use ofelearning, or cyber learning, which uses a form of computer infrastructure that makes useof communicative and informative technology. Borrego, Lindsay, and Madhavan agreethat elearning, although not widely used, can play a potential role in engineeringeducation. Elearning is rising up in education, because it is still essentially learning, it isdeveloped to fit complex circumstances, and it serves to support and complementtraditional lecture formats (2011). Due to the advances of technology, education has been innovated to include neweducation methods such as eLearning, blogs, wikis, and video solutions. The infusion ofnew technologies makes these forms of education possible and all of my sources agree to
Steiner 7this fact. Applying new technology to the engineering curriculum holds a greatimportance in education. This application of new tech has already shown positive resultsin their respective fields and with constant advancements in technology, the use of highere.d. technologies in the classroom can only grow.Another Perspective In this paper my sources have covered learning styles, teaching methods, and theapplication of new technology in engineering education. However, what my sourceshaven’t covered is the perspectives of the student’s involved. Each article discusses datathat shows the learning styles of most engineers, where most of these teaching methodsare created in order to meet that standard. In a field as difficult as engineering, it isimportant to bring out the innovative and creative sides of the students. Not one articleexpressed student input, but rather just discussed the general mass through evaluation ofengineering courses. If you do not use any form of student input when developingcourses, you hinder what that student would have to offer towards that course. Most of these sources are written by professors of engineering who do haveexperience teaching classes of their own. These professors usually develop their coursesdue to their analysis of the overall class and will keep using the same method for sometime, but engineering is an ever changing field where the same teaching methods will notalways work. The sources try to focus on who engineers are, when in reality they are alldifferent. I believe that in order for courses to be developed effectively, professors needto essentially cut the middle man. These tests and data collecting aren’t as practical assimply asking the students of who they are and what they want to learn. In order to create
Steiner 8successful courses in the engineering curriculum, I would place an importance on theinput of the students to create courses that respond better to that of its students.