Tools for Transformation: How engineering education benefits from interactive E-learning and the Humanities
2015 (English)In: ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, American Society for Engineering Education , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
This paper engages with how to construct means for student activation, using analytical models, e-learning and web tools in engineering education. Learning requires different levels of understanding and means to appropriate and formulate knowledge. However, peer instruction and student participation require a degree of facilitation, which is a role the teacher needs to analyse and develop before students can be demanded to demonstrate increased participation in course content, feedback and design. The specific context of student learning discussed here is based on experiences from a course for international engineering students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. The course aim is to train students in critically analyzing the role of national identities, social- and technological engineering and politics in shaping Swedish society. One challenge is to enable engineering students to develop skills in critical thinking by engaging with texts from social sciences and humanities dealing with topics formulated in the course aim. Reading, writing and discussing texts on historical and contemporary examples are used to attain learning outcomes, relating to both course content as well as practical skills of critical reflection, reasoning and developing arguments in writing. This study draws on experiences from changing a course previously relying on attendance towards encouraging and explicitly rewarding student contribution to each other’s learning. The broader aim have been for students to learn to think, read, discuss and write analytically, while using web-tools in combination with seminar exercises to increase student interaction in these processes and time on task. While these skills are instrumental, we argue that they are valuable for students to engage in interactive learning of a more transformative character where students benefit from learning through reciprocal questioning, joint learning and peer-instruction. Source material is gathered using course evaluations and feedback from students at lectures and seminars. Some early results based on experiences from the seminar activities, where students wrote a text relating to an analytical question and thereafter made commentson a fellow classmate’s text, showed that the students gained enough in-depth understanding to present an argument when commenting on a classmates’ text in the same topic. Students experienced working with analytical questions and peers as supportive for engaging with topics previously perceived to be challenging. Other students were exposed to texts with some basic components missing (defining key concepts etc.) providing challenges in formulating constructive comments and suggestions for improvements. To conclude, the implication of using analytical models, e-learning and web tools in engineering education is instrumental for student activation in the sense that students acquire skills for active reading and writing. However the use of analytical questions and reciprocal questioning in seminar activities and web forums prompts new channels for interactive learning between students and a more transformative prospect of relating skills from social sciences and humanities with engineering practices in society.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Society for Engineering Education , 2015.
, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
engineering education, humanities, e-learning
Pedagogy Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-172793ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84938633016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-172793DiVA: diva2:849582
2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition; Washington Convention CenterSeattle; United States; 14 June 2015 through 17 June 2015
QC 20150901. QC 201602262015-08-282015-08-282016-02-26Bibliographically approved