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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1695225


In contemporary design-for-manufacturability education, the use of design-thinking (or human-centered design) and team-based design projects are ubiquitous. Students are typically taken on a journey to better appreciate synthesis of the “big picture” while learning to consider an open-ended manufacturability problem from various perspectives and discovering the value in empathy and co-creation. However, with the onset of online-only modes of instruction to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, meaningful collaborative learning has become challenging. Students regularly cite the lack of social interaction as a main reason for poor virtual teamwork and tend to display entrenched preference for face-to-face interactions to perform ideation and to understand or resolve issues, which hampers the use of online counterparts. However, online learning has brought to light several digital platforms that are easily customizable for online collaboration among students. When it comes to virtual ideation (or virtual “brainstorming”), effective generation of new ideas or concepts is difficult. Social media platforms like WeChat, GroupMe, and Discord are beneficial for high-level idea sharing;Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms might be similarly helpful. Still, engineering students tend to have trouble when using computer-aided drawing platforms that do not allow interactive collaboration in real-time (e.g. Fusion 360). Instructors also must contend with student apprehension to use unfamiliar digital tools. Among online collaborative platforms, Miro may pose a solution to these challenges, as it allows for synchronous interaction and captures essential elements of a face-to-face ideation environment. This platform could also facilitate empathy-mapping and journey-mapping labs, where team members would capture the team's combined user knowledge and map-out user attitudes, behaviors, needs, and pain points. This study investigates if and how the use of the Miro virtual ideation platform affects ideation of small teams of engineering students (n = 65) in a sophomore-level design-for-manufacturability course. Questionnaires were used to evaluate 1) students' perceived cognitive and emotional engagement when using Miro, 2) Miro's utility in authentically subjecting students to aspects of design-thinking, and 3) the degree of psychological safety in Miro's virtual collaborative environment. The effective use of online ideation tools, like Miro, is of paramount importance when engineering students are collaborating in an online-only learning environment. Findings from this study will provide insight toward the utility in adopting Miro (or similar platforms) for such purposes as well as help identify psychological issues that could be suitably addressed when using online collaborative platforms such as Miro. This study contributes to the body of knowledge pertaining to effective student engagement during online or hybrid modes of education. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2021

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1695224


Contemporary educational challenges have become amplified through the adoption of online-only modes of instruction due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When planning and delivering online instruction, even more than when delivering face-to-face instruction, engineering educators need to involve students at cognitive and emotional levels that encourage authentic, meaningful, and immersive learning experiences. During traditional online learning, students often feel disconnected from their learning communities. They also report a lack of motivation. Emotional engagement is therefore a necessary complement to cognitive engagement, while further helping to facilitate intrinsic motivation and feelings of delight, surprise, understanding, empathy, and trust. This study analyzes the use of scaffolded mini-projects (complex design projects divided into smaller segments) combined with comprehensive electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) in a sophomore-level Design for Manufacturability course. By emphasizing progressively more complex learning experiences and pairing these with electronic portfolios, students may become more attuned to cognitive learning processes such as effective planning and communication of complex ideas. We also hypothesize that they may develop awareness of, and competency in, skills with an emotional component including self-directed learning, autonomous exploration, and creative inspiration. For the purposes of this investigation, mini-projects may be independent from one another or connected as a series. Lessons from previous mini-projects are built into subsequent projects, and each offers loosely-defined analytical questions and open-ended design questions that require independent research. The unfolding of scaffolded mini-projects offers an orderly mechanism for students to grow and demonstrate important engineering competencies, especially when offered in tandem with teaching-learning-assessments via ePortfolios. ePortfolios have been shown to be effective in documenting learning competencies, enabling meta-analysis and personal reflection, and improving skills in the use of social media to communicate ideas. In effect, mini-projects combined with ePortfolios may help to facilitate deeper understanding of course content, make the curriculum more relevant for students, and build connections between classroom and professional learning competencies. This study offers a comparative analysis evaluating the efficacy of using mini-projects and ePortfolios in a face-to-face learning environment (Fall 2019) and in an online-only learning environment (Fall 2020). Participants in the face-to-face Fall 2019 (n = 104) course completed a questionnaire that evaluated specific engagement constructs. The completed questionnaires were evaluated using descriptive statistics and factor analysis. Data from the Fall 2020 (n = 64) course were evaluated using the same assessment methodology. It is hoped that findings from this work may contribute to the development of self-directed learning strategies that enhance students' cognitive and emotional engagement in their learning during online-only and face-to-face instruction. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2021