The Emotional Rescue of Engineering Education


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iFoundry co-director David E. Goldberg discusses the "emotional rescue" of engineering education by paying primary attention to student emotional engagement with their future world of work. Using examples from the evolution of the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education, the primacy of student engagement is developed in a practical manner.

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The Emotional Rescue of Engineering Education

  1. 1. The Emotional Rescueof Engineering Education<br />David E. Goldberg Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering EducationUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana, Illinois 61801;<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  2. 2. Working Out One Day <br />Wondering what to call my talk.<br />Emotional Rescuecame on.<br />Tell story about the evolution of the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education(iFoundry)<br />Story begins in typical rational engineering fashion.<br />Ends with a punch line that could have been written by Sir Mick.<br />Student engagement and emotion as undervalued transformational design variables.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />Sir Mick Jagger (b. 1943)<br />
  3. 3. Roadmap<br />A postmodern beginning: Once upon a blogpost.<br />Why can’t we change? A NIMBY problem and the iFoundry curriculum/programmatic incubator. <br />What should we change? An answer from Athens.<br />Finding an aspirational target in Needham, MA.<br />73 freshmen last fall.<br />A surprise in October.<br />Switch: The rider, the elephant, and the path.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  4. 4. Once Upon a Blog Post<br />Wrote a blog post on 24 May 2006 at<br />Wondered why not a philosophy of engineering like philosophy of science?<br />Response from the UK.<br />Pointer to a National Academy of Engineering committee.<br />Led to 4 things:<br />Meetings on Philosophy & Engineering (WPE-2007, WPE-2008, fPET-2010).<br />Lecture series: Engineering and Technology Studies at Illinois (ETSI).<br />Workshop on the Engineer of the Future.<br />Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education (iFoundry).<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />4<br />
  5. 5. Why Can’t We Change? A NIMBY Problem<br />Academic change is a NIMBY problem.<br />NIMBY = Not in my backyard.<br />“Reform is fine…”<br />“….as long as you don’t change my course.”<br />Politics of logrolling: You support my not changing. I support your not changing.<br />Even when agreement for change is acknowledged, almost all specific changes are resisted.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />5<br />NIMBY = Not in my backyard<br />
  6. 6. iFoundry: A Pilot Incubator for Change<br />Starting point: Organizational redesign.<br />iFoundry = Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education:<br />Separate pilot unit/incubator. Permit change.<br />Collaboration. Large, key ugrad programs work together. Easier approval if shared. <br />Connections. Hook to depts, NAE, ABET (?), industry. <br />Volunteers. Enthusiasm for change among participants. <br />Existing authority. Use signatory authority for modification of curricula for immediate pilot. <br />Respect faculty governance. Get pilot permission from the dept. and go back to faculty for vote after pilot change<br />Assessment. Built-in assessment to overcome objections back home. <br />Scalability. Past attempts at change like Olin fail to scale at UIUC and other big schools. <br />6<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  7. 7. Myth: The Basics of Engineering Settled<br />“The basics” = math, science, and engineering science.<br />Reflections on 20 years in industry-sponsored senior design.<br />After 4 years students don’t know how to<br />Question: Socrates 101.<br />Label: Aristotle 101.<br />Model conceptually: Hume 101 & Aristotle 102.<br />Decompose: Descartes 101.<br />Measure: Bacon-Locke 101.<br />Visualize/draw: da Vinci-Monge 101.<br />Communicate: Newman 101<br />Call these the missing basics (MBs).<br />Fundamental to engineering, organizational prowess, and lifelong learning.<br />Socrates (470-399 BC)<br />7<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  8. 8. The Olin Effect as Educational Target<br />Went to Franklin W. Olin College first time February 2008.<br />A moving experience: Talked to freshmen during heat-sink measurements.<br />Pride in design-build prowess: Engineering identity.<br />Confidence.<br />Assertion of personal aspirations & initiative.<br />Envisioned distant day when we got “Olin effect” at Illinois.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering<br />
  9. 9. Illinois Engineering Freshman Experience (iEFX)<br />Joy<br />Aspiration<br />Identity<br />Choice<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  10. 10. Fa09 & iLaunch: The Students are Coming<br />22 August 2009 was iLaunch.<br />110 admitted, 93 accepted, 88 came to campus, 73 still in program.<br />iLaunch signaled different kind of program.<br />3 Joys: Joy of engineering, community & learning.<br />Unified by the missing basics.<br />Within student-run community of learners: iCommunity.<br />But it wasn’t all smooth.<br />iStudents on Allerton low ropes course<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  11. 11. Bumps, Confusion, then Demos & iCheckpoint<br />Students: What do you want us to do?<br />iFoundry staff: Don’t know. What do you want to do?<br />Then steam engines worked. <br />iCheckpoint held.<br />Something seemed to click.<br />Jaime Kelleher: “Wasn’t sure you were serious about us doing what we wanted to do, but then realized you were, and it was very cool.”<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  12. 12. AAAs: Aspirationally Assertive Acts<br />Students started to assert themselves as free men and women and as engineers:<br />6 students go to NextGen conference.<br />3 students apply and get accepted to TEC Silicon Valley trip.<br />Student rearranges finals to go to Indonesia with NUS students.<br />Student networks with Cory Levy to get VC interview in Colorado.<br />8 students visited Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.<br />Student starts passionate pursuits brown-bag series.<br />Student invites IDEO lecturer to campus.<br />Anecdotes confirmed in ongoing assessment efforts. <br />Jaime Kelleher in Indonesia<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  13. 13. Students Speak: The Experience is Working<br />November 11th survey, First two weeks versus now.<br />Agree & strongly agree (n = 51):<br />Student words:<br />“Sure I made the right career choice.” <br />“I might not like my future co-workers, but I’ll love my job.”<br />“Making me more confident in my decision to be an engineer.” <br />“I’m definitely more entrepreneurial.” <br />“I think I feel more comfortable being an engineer.” <br />“Just an overall all-rounded engineer, not just a technician. A human, not just a problem solver.”<br />“The future looks brighter thanks to iFoundry.”<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  14. 14. The Olin Effect at Illinois!<br />But how?<br />Didn’t change the whole curriculum.<br />Didn’t build new buildings.<br />Didn’t remake the classrooms.<br />Didn’t overhaul the teaching or teachers.<br />Did one-hour course + iCommunity? Seems like too little.<br />Olin Effect at Illinois<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  15. 15. The Elephant, the Rider, and the Path<br />Chip & Dan Heath have new book: Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.<br />Invoke tripartite model of change:<br />Motivate the Elephant (emotions),<br />Guide the Rider (rational thought),<br />Shape the Path (institutional/organizational setting).<br />Emotions as primary design focus.<br />iFoundry model corresponds: organizational change, conceptual change, and aspirational change.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  16. 16. 8 Things Working<br />We motivated the elephant (E), guided the rider (R), and shaped the path (P):<br />Transition (P). Met expectations in transition (iLaunch).<br />Passion (E). Appealed to passion (3 joys: engineering, community, learning).<br />Aspiration (E). Respected aspirations & choices (iTeam themes).<br />Thought (R). Built qualitative thinking skills (Roam + missing basics + HAPI).<br />Community & human behavior (P). Insisted on working together (iTeams & iCommunity).<br />Trust & Initiative (E & P). Trusted student initiative (provided rules & structure, but not instructions).<br />Inner builder (E). Unleashed inner builder & engineering identity (Steam engine & μcontroller).<br />Begin with end in mind (P). Began with the end in mind (world of work and iCOAs).<br />Chemo game story: Emotional variables most important in motivation.<br />Bottom line: Creates new level of student confidence, initiative, and engineering & Illinois identity early in career.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  17. 17. Next Steps<br />Moving from iFoundry to College as iEFX: Illinois Engineering Freshmen Experience.<br />Scale up: 73300 of 1300 freshmen, Fa10.<br />Add iAAs (iTeam alumni advisors) to teams: Alumni experience begins in the iCommunity.<br />Piloting courses for 2nd year now: UOCD, FBE, others.<br />Hold Engineer of the Future 3.0: Unleashing Student Engagement, 14-15 November 2010, student-run summit.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  18. 18. Bottom Line<br />iFoundry pilot a interesting & is being scaled up.<br />Big jump in student confidence, initiative, and engineering identity  Olin effect at Illinois.<br />Used literature, theory to design, but was surprised by magnitude of student response.<br />Engineering training overvalues the rational.<br />Emotional design variables hugely important & need to incorporate them in our transformation efforts.<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />“I'll be your savior, steadfast and true, I'll come to your emotional rescue.”<br />
  19. 19. Acknowledgments<br />Autodesk<br />HP<br />IBM<br />Motorola<br />National Science Foundation (US)<br />Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill<br />Severns Family Foundation<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />
  20. 20. Contacts & Information<br />DEG:<br />Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education (<br />2 meetings:<br />Engineer of the Future 3.0: Unleashing Student Engagement, 14-15 November 2010, UIUC,<br />Forum on Philosophy, Engineering & Technology, 9-10 May 2010 (Sunday Eve-Monday), Colorado School of Mines,<br />This powerpoint and other reflections at<br />© David E. Goldberg 2010<br />