Teaching MSE Students to Teach: A Design-Based Research Model for Introducing Professional Skills into the Technical Curriculum

Teaching MSE Students to Teach: A Design-Based Research Model for Introducing Professional Skills into the Technical Curriculum

Catherine G.P. Berdanier (Purdue University, USA), Tasha Zephirin (Purdue University, USA), Monica F. Cox (Purdue University, USA) and Suely M. Black (Norfolk State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8632-8.ch028


The purpose of this chapter is to show how design-based research (DBR) methodologies can be implemented in technical programs. First, the authors provide a background of recent research in interdisciplinary education, Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship (IGERT) programs, and design-based research. Second, a brief summary the example case, a Pedagogy module which has been implemented with Materials Science and Materials Engineering students through an IGERT program, is discussed. The final portion of the chapter presents a new implementation model for DBR along with recommendations and strategies for interested faculty, department heads, or motivated graduate students to reform existing technical curricula using design-based research. The significance of the book chapter rests in the flexibility of this model to be adapted to any program, showing instructors the iterative process for developing a course to suit the needs of a department.
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Despite an increase in complex, interdisciplinary engineering challenges (Borrego & Newswander, 2010; COSEPUP, 1995), academic programs and especially graduate level engineering education have continued in a more traditional route. Students are trained at the bachelor’s level to work in an industry setting (ABET, 2013), and at the graduate level, to be experts in a narrow field or discipline, with little time devoted to interdisciplinary or professional skill development (Golde & Gallagher, 1999; Manathunga, Lant, & Mellick, 2006; Morse, Nielsen-Pincus, Force, & Wulfhorst, 2007). Future scientists and engineers who can leverage knowledge, methods and procedures from a variety of disciplines are more creative problem-solvers than those that have been trained in a single discipline (Austin, Connelly, & Colbeck, 2001; Austin, 2002; Colbeck, 2008; Golde & Gallagher, 1999) as they are better prepared for actual tasks and innovation in their future careers (Youngblood, 2007). In addition to interdisciplinary technical skills, students involved in interdisciplinary programs boast student development of professional skills, such as communication skills, ethics, technical writing, and teamwork experience (Gamse, Espinosa, & Roy, 2013; Borrego & Newswander, 2010).

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