ERIC Number: ED372088
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Organization, Knowledge, and Identity: A Collaborative Team in a Nontraditional Engineering Class.
Tonso, Karen L.
In a nontraditional engineering course students participated in internships in which they worked in teams for local industry or government clients to develop an engineering solution to an open-ended problem. This paper focuses on one of the teams as it solved the problem and explores the organization of the team's work within the constraints of the classroom, as well as their learning and its impact on the students' identities as engineers. Required class sessions included lectures by professors of English on report writing, public speaking, and information gathering. The team of 6 (later 5) students was observed 25 times over the semester in different settings. Student understanding and the team's organization of its work within the constraints of the classroom produced mixed results. Knowledge growth during the semester was substantial, but it was more a result of being a good student than of being a good engineer. Task organization, knowledge, and developing identity remained more academic than professional engineer. Replacing the entrenched engineering school culture with real-life experiences requires more than incorporating an engineering problem into a class. One figure illustrates the discussion. (Contains 16 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).