Cultivating Authentic Engineering Discourse: Transitioning from an NSF CCLI Phase 1 to a Phase 2 Project
The University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) has been awarded a CCLI Phase 2 research-based project that will implement a model based on inquiry and metacognition in the undergraduate engineering curriculum.* The project will empower students through a praxis employing the Principles of Learning and Classroom Environments as presented in How Students Learn, a publication of the National Research Council. Using this praxis, students and faculty together will build a community of learners as students move toward becoming informed, responsible learners with faculty who guide the inquiry, questioning, and reflection.
Faculty members from the UTEP College of Education who are scholars in scientific discourse and literacy have joined faculty in the UTEP College of Engineering to develop, implement, and evaluate a process that integrates an iterative process of reflective teaching and learning. Specifically, the focus is on literacy, discourse, and metacognition with content focused on principles such as counter-intuition and model elicitation.
The successful NSF sponsored Phase 1 project (DUE-0411320) focused on student attitudes, study habits and in-class activities. Faculty were involved primarily as curriculum developers and guides. When considering a transition to Phase 2, emphasis was placed on faculty attitudes, teaching habits and reflection in an attempt to elicit desired student behaviors. The faculty and students are modeled as interrelated components in a learning system in which they both reflect on engineering content and the pedagogy for delivering the content in and out of the classroom.
Student learning is viewed as developing Engineering Discourse and Inquiry; that is, learning is developing the ability to see and inquire about engineering as a whole with significant and immediate connections to engineering practice, rather than as disconnected bits of information, homework problems and exams. Discourse experts observe an assortment of student evidence to evaluate progress.
Likewise, faculty are encouraged to develop Instructional Discourse using inquiry. The project supports faculty in this endeavor by having them reflect on their activities. These reflections are reviewed by experts to assess faculty