A review of “Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum: The Ultimate Design Challege”

By: Brook Sattler, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinator

In a recent National Academy of Engineering piece, Susan A. Ambrose (2013) argues that engineering education has made significant changes to individual curricula, but says “It is time to move beyond tweaking individual courses or revamping one year of the curriculum. We need to be audacious enough to put the pieces together in a coherent, encompassing way across engineering curricula” (p. 22). One of the pieces to this puzzle, is providing students with “opportunities for reflection to connect thinking and doing” (p. 17).

In arguing about the importance of reflection in engineering curricula, she emphasizes  the role reflection plays in help students connect thinking and doing:

“When students engage in meaningful and frequent reflection about what they are learning, they are less likely to ‘have the experience but miss the meaning,’ because reflection provides a ‘continual  interweaving of thinking and doing’ (Schön 1983, p. 280). It  generates, deepens, and documents learning (Ash and Clayton
2004). In fact, studies show that students who ‘repeatedly engage in structured reflection…are more likely to bring a strategic learning  orientation to new challenges’ (Eyler 2009, p. 28; Eyler and Giles 1999), reinforcing the end goal of learning as the ability to use knowledge and skills flexibly in novel situations” (p19).

After emphasizing the value of reflection in engineering education, she presents one mechanism for supporting student reflection–reflective writing, specifically “writing to learn” and embedding “writing across the curriculum. She provides the example of e-portfolios as an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning and performance.

In concluding the section about reflection she says,

“So, yes, students learn by doing, but only when they have time to reflect on what they are doing—the two go hand in hand. Why, then, don’t engineering curricula provide constant structured opportunities and time to ensure that continual reflection takes place” (p. 20)?

In concluding, she calls the community to action. We need  to coordinate and continually support the areas of learning she mentions.

Citations

Ambrose, S. A. (2013). Undergraduate engineering curriculum: The ultimate design challenge. The Bridge: Linking Engineering and Society, 43(2), 16-23.

Ash S.L. & Clayton P.H. 2004. The articulated learning: An
approach to reflection and assessment. Innovative Higher
Education, 29, 137–154.

Eyler J. 2009. The power of experiential education. Liberal
Education, 95(4), 24–31.

Eyler J., Giles DE. 1999. Where’s the Learning in Service-
Learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Schön D. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner. New York: Basic
Books.

Research Brief: “Engineering Education Meets Human-Computer Interaction (HCI): Exploring How the Work on “Probes” can Guide the Design of Reflection Activities

By: Brook Sattler, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinator

In this paper, we bridge the gap between the fields of human-computer interaction (HCI) and engineering education by exploring the work on “probes.” Specifically, we explore how probes have the potential to support reflection.

“Probes are small collections of artifacts accompanied by open-ended questions and evocative tasks to which participants respond over time” (p. 1). Probes are artifacts that support people in thinking about something specific and provide designers/researchers with inspiration for design.

In this paper, we offer examples of various probes in the field of HCI, such as packets with postcards, maps, disposable cameras, photo albums, and a media diary. For example, in a foundation work on probes, Gaver and colleagues (1999) used these probes to ask the elderly various questions about their life. Initially, the probes were meant to provided the researchers with data, but it was noticed that the probes also provided the research participants with an opportunity to reflect:

“What we learned about the elders is only half the story, however. The other half is what the elders learned from the probes. They provoked the groups to think about the roles they play and the pleasures they experience, hinting to them that our designs might suggest new roles and experiences. In the end, the probes helped establish a conversation with the groups, one that has continued throughout the project.” (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti, 1999, p. 22)…(italics added for emphasis)

In bringing the work on probes to engineering education, our goal was to encourage the community to think more broadly about how we support reflection.

Citations:

Gaver, B., Dunne, T., & Pacenti, E. (1999). Cultural Probes, Interactions, January + February, 21-29.

Orand, M., Sattler, B., Turns, J. A., & Thomas, L. D. (2015). Engineering Education Meets Human–Computer Interaction (HCI): Exploring How the Work on “Probes” can Guide the Design of Reflection Activities. In Proceedings of the 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition. Seattle, WA.

Reflecting on reflection

By: Jim Borgford-Parnell, PhD
Associate Director of the Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching and Instructional Consultant at the University of Washington

Reflective thought is accepted in many disciplines and levels of education as a critically important cognitive process. Scholars in cognitive psychology, neuro-science, education, and other fields that are concerned with how humans learn and process information, maintain reflection as a core concept.

It is reflection that enables us to fit new information derived from a current experience to existing knowledge networks in our brains. Those networks, as described by James Zull (2002) are physical structures in our brains that are formed with neuron and synaptic links. In Zull’s important book, focused on the applications of brain research to teaching practices, he described reflection as “searching for connections – literally!. . . We need reflection to develop complexity” (p. 164). We may begin a cognitive process with a simple experience or a discrete piece of information, but then we must depend upon the network of prior knowledge we draw upon in order to ascribe value and meaning to that experience.

In 1995, James Mezirow theorized our existing knowledge structures as being schemata, or meaning schemes that guide how people make meaning from an experience. Mezirow suggested that reflection could be accomplished as a fairly automatic process in which a person’s meaning schemes (prior knowledge) remain unchallenged, or reflection could be a deliberate and self-aware process in which important prior knowledge is scrutinized anew in light of a new experience. Mezirow, suggested that the self-aware reflection provides us with an opportunity to change our minds. Those different levels of reflective effort were termed common reflection and critical reflection respectively. Donald Schön (1987) also differentiated how we reflect on prior knowledge as either “knowing-in-action” which described tacit knowledge-use that works fine in normal situations, or “reflection-in-action” which is absolutely important in order to work successfully in novel circumstances.

Stephen Brookfield (1995) also ascribed to the perspective that there are two types of reflective thought. With a focus on improving teaching, he proposed that when a teacher reflected on an experience in the classroom she might resolve to make a change and to do it differently next time – an example of common reflection. Alternatively, she may critically reflect on the experience (what Brookfield called “hunting assumptions”) and question the prior knowledge that implicitly motivated her actions in the first place. Schön also focused on the importance of teachers’ reflections, and proposed that “reflection on reflection-in-action,” by teachers may be necessary for them to develop pedagogies that could help promote students’ abilities to utilize “reflection-in-action.”

In Cognitive Psychology and Instruction, Bruning et al. (1999) built on Mezirow’s ideas on reflection as meaning making, and foreshadowed Zull’s notion of reflection as searching for connections. They posited that “learning is a product of the interaction among what learners already know, the information they encounter, and what they do as they learn… It is not so much knowledge and skill acquisition as it is the construction of meaning by the learner” (pp. 6-7).   However, as Mezirow, Schön, and Brookfield pointed out learning becomes much more difficult if we are unable to utilize our existing schemata to make meaning of a new experience, and that difficulty could provide the impetus for a more self-aware and self-directed type of reflection. The notion that critical reflection is catalyzed by cognitive difficulty has been suggested by many other educational scholars as well (e.g., Jarvis, 1987; Kagan, 1992; Paulsen & Feldman, 1995).

Bruning, et al. (1999) proposed that reflection was necessary for learners to both build knowledge and to manage their learning.  They suggested that metacognition, describes a more deliberative type of reflection. “One of the most important educational implications of metacognitive research has been the growing awareness that knowledge and skill acquisition are only a part of the picture of cognitive growth. Although knowledge and skills are important, students’ learning strategies and their ability to reflect on what they have learned – to think critically – may be even more important” (p. 8). Critical reflection is a deeply metacognitive process, it allows us to directly confront our implicit cognitive content (our unexamined assumptions and beliefs) and gain control of our learning.

For many educators, developing students’ ability to reflect on their prior knowledge is the a fundamental outcome of active learning pedagogies – to provide learning experiences in which students build new knowledge from their prior knowledge rather than simply receiving and accepting new information. Scholars in other areas (e.g., multicultural education, ethnic studies, women’s studies, adult education, etc.) link reflection to a person’s ability to question and reexamine their understanding of socially or personally vexing issues regarding class, race, gender, identity, ability, and so on. Critical pedagogy (Freire, 1971; Giroux, 1998; Shor, 1996) is an instantiation of learning experiences that focus on these difficult issues.

At its base, reflective thought is universally accepted as essential for building robust knowledge that links new experience/information with what a learner already knows. Additionally, many scholars support the notion that reflective thought: (a) has varying levels of effort (e.g., common or critical, knowing-in-action or reflection-in-action) and those levels may relate to a heightened awareness (e.g., metacognition); (b) may be difficult to accomplish and require a catalyzer to get started; (c) is a skill that may be taught/learned; and (d) may be focused on particular issue (e.g., personal or social issues).

Developing a person’s ability to perceive fundamental features of a problem, use those perceptions to link to and draw upon a complex network of knowledge, and then to apply that knowledge in the solving of the problem; is a primary goal for engineering education. So helping students to become reflective thinkers is a goal, even if it is mainly being done without an awareness or guidance from the reflection scholarship. However, developing our students’ higher-level reflective habits, their abilities to be metacognitive, self-regulated, broad-thinking, reflective engineers or to help them to focus their reflections on important social or personal challenges are not commonly experienced by engineering students.

On the whole, engineering education may be doing a decent job preparing students to reflect on fundamental physics, math, and science knowledge and knowledge of technologies to help them in solving engineering problems. However, we seem to be doing an inadequate job of helping our students to reflect on other issues that are important for them to make informed career decisions, or for situating what they do in broader contexts. There is no reason why these goals could not be met in concert with them learning to be skilled reflective engineers.

Citations

Brookfield, S. D. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bruning, R. H., Schraw, G.J., & Ronning, R. R. (1999). Cognitive Psychology and Instruction. Columbus, OH:
Prentice Hall.

Freire, P. (1971). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder and herder.

Giroux, H. (1988). Teachers as intellectuals: Toward a critical pedagogy of learning. Grandby, MA: Bergin &
Garvey Pub, Inc.

Jarvis, P. (1992). Paradoxes of Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kagan, D. M.  (1992).  Implications of research on teacher belief.  Educational Psychologist, 27(1), 65-90.

Mezirow, J. (1995). Transformation theory of adult learning. In M. R. Welton (Ed.), In defense of lifeworld (pp. 39-71). New York: SUNY.

Paulsen, M. B. & Feldman, K. A. (1995).  Taking teaching seriously: Meeting the challenge of instructional improvement.  (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 2).  Washington D.C: The George Washington University.

Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Josey-Bass.

Shor, I. (1996). When Students have Power: Negotiating Authority in a Critical Pedagogy. Chicago: the University of Chicago Press.

Zull, J. E. (2002). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

About the author. Jim Borgford-Parnell, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching and Instructional Consultant at the University of Washington. In this role, his primary responsibility is to improve teaching and learning in the College of Engineering. He is the instructional consultant for ten engineering departments and more than 250 faculty members and other teaching personnel. He has taught for over 30 years, include a graduate course entitled, Developing a Critically Reflective Teaching Practice.

Rose-Hulman Workshop on “Assessing Reflection”

By: Ella Ingram, PhD
CPREE Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology co-PI

Rose-Hulman’s CPREE learning community welcomed Dr. Rachel McCord of University of Tennessee – Knoxville for a day-long workshop focused on assessing reflection (held on July 21, 2015). The day began with a rousing and sometimes heated consideration of three papers (Moon, 2006; Kember et al., 2008; Stewart & Richardson, 2000), centering on the relative importance and roles of assessment and grading. Many questions were identified: What do educators need to know to assess reflection (their own KSAs–knowledge, skills, and abilities)? How does one separate reflection from content in submitted work? What is the purpose of the reflection experience in this particular course? How do we walk students through the reflection process? How do we influence students’ motivation to participate in reflection? What prompts can we use to encourage reflection in conversation with students? Our answers to these questions reveal the complexity of this topic and illustrate the variability found in the literature.

Dr. McCord encouraged the workshop participants to combine the reflection model of experience-meaning making-future action with a backward design approach for assessment planning (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). Three questions guide the planning: (1) what is the purpose of reflection? (develop objectives), (2) What constitutes good or poor? (identifying evidence), and (3) What learning engagements will yield this evidence? (activity development). By working through these questions, the workshop participants clarified their mechanisms for assessing the reflection activities they plan for the next school year.

Twenty participants attended, a great number given short notice and summer schedules. Educators represented eight different academic departments and three support offices (including the RHIT president Dr. Jim Conwell). The mix of perspectives kept the discussion lively, and enriched the understanding of all.

Citations

Moon, J. (2006). Learning Journals: A Handbook for Reflective Practice and Professional Development. New York: Routledge.

Kember, D., McKay, J., Sinclair, K., & Wong, F. K. Y. (2008). A four-category scheme for coding and assessing the level of reflection in written work. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(4): 369-379.

Stewart, S. & Richardson, B. (2000). Reflection and its place in the curriculum on an undergraduate course: should it be assessed? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 25(4): 369-380.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

About the author. Ella Ingram, PhD, is a CPREE co-PI at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT). At RHIT, she is an Associate Professor of Biology & Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education.

A review of “An appraisal of medical students’ reflection-in-learning”

By: Brook Sattler, PhD, and Lauren Thomas, PhD, CPREE multi-campus coordinators

In this research, Sobral used a quantitative approach to examine the research question “how do students reflect as they strive for some control of learning early in their clinical activities?”  The findings suggest that when students reflect on their medical education there is potential for “greater benefit and enjoyment from their medical studies” (p. 186).

Tips for educators presented in this work:

  • Look at the assessment tool. If you are interested in assessing reflection in your classroom, the survey is an interesting tool to consider when embarking on evaluating reflection. While some of the questions may seem a little different, the language Sobral uses to capture the meaning of reflection could be useful.

Questions or challenges presented in this work:

  • Be patient with the write-up of the article. We appreciated the idea of the paper, but it was so brief that it made us wanting more details. There was enough resonance at the beginning of the paper that we were interested, but then the author so quickly jumped into the findings. This abrupt approach left us wondering if we understood the research questions and design. Even further, we were left wondering if we were using the same language to talk about reflection.

Citation

Sobral, D. T. (2000). An appraisal of medical students’ reflection-in-learning. Medical Education, 34(3), 182–7.

A Review of “Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance”

By: Brook Sattler, PhD and Lauren Thomas, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinators

A practical reason to implement reflection activities is to assist students in learning the material, and optimize their performance. In a business context, researchers evaluated three hypotheses about reflection, reflection and sharing, and self-efficacy in two lab tests and in the field (Di Stefano et al., 2014).

The two lab studies were used to identify the relationships between reflection, reflection and sharing, the influence of incentives, and self-efficacy. They found that (1) reflection improves performance, (2) self-efficacy mediates reflection and learning without reflection, and (3) reflection increases self-efficacy and performance (p. 11 and p. 24).

The field context is particularly interesting; at an international call center the authors tested these relationships in a practical way with new employees who were participating in a two-week training program.  The participants were assigned to one of three groups: control, reflection, and sharing. At the end of the work day, those assigned to the reflection group were given a basic journal prompt to reflect on the day’s activities and given 15 minutes to respond. Those in the sharing group were given a similar prompt to journal for 10 minutes, and then discuss with another participant for 5 minutes. In the field, reflection and sharing resulted in improved performance on a subsequent assessment and that self-efficacy explains that relationship.

While this paper has its reasonable limitations, it does provide an interesting connection to self-efficacy, a topic that many engineering educators are familiar with. The authors also introduce the importance of a social component to improving reflection. Essentially, reflection can be best supported when participants have the opportunity to engage with others who shared a similar experience.

Tips for educators presented in this work:

  • The value of reflection. This paper provides some evidence indicating that reflection does improve performance. In each case, those who had the opportunity to reflect outperformed those who did not.
  • Social aspect of reflection. Incorporating a social component to reflection activities may assist students in achieving greater performance outcomes for the activities. In many engineering classrooms, creating a sense of community is a challenge.  This research does not specifically explore the topic, but it is likely that reflection activities with a social component may assist in that effort.

Questions or challenges presented in this work:

  • The researchers found that self-efficacy had a mediating effect on reflection and learning and that reflection predicted self-efficacy. How have you seen self-efficacy and reflection play out in your context/experience?
  • What are creative ways to implement a social component to reflection activities in the classroom?

Citation

Di Stefano, G., Gino, F., Pisano, G., & Staats, B. (2014). Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance. Harvard Business School Working Paper, 1-48.

A Review of “Reflection as an Assessment Measure”

By: Brook Sattler, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinator

In her 2000 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference proceeding, Dr. Barbara M. Olds overviews the longitudinal reflective portfolio assessment program, which is part of the McBride Honors Program at Colorado School of Mines. She starts with a history of program; defines reflection; argues the importance of reflection; offers ideas for how to support student reflection; and connects reflection, assessment, and portfolio.

In this work, she defines reflection as “asking people to write about their goals, the strategies they use for reaching their goals, and their progress towards reaching those goals or others” (p. 1). This definition is built upon research about portfolios, reflection, and assessment, specifically the work by Kathleen Yancey (1998):

“In method, reflection is dialectical, putting multiple perspectives into play with each other in order to produce insight. Procedurally, reflection entails a looking forward to goals we might attain, as well as a casting backward to see where we have been. When we reflect, we thus project and review, often putting the projections and the reviews in dialogue with each other, working dialectically as we seek to discover what we know, what we have learned, and what we might understand. When we reflect, we call upon the cognitive, the affective, the intuitive, putting these into play with each other: to help us understand how something completed looks later, how it compares with what has come before, how it meets stated or implicit criteria, our own, those of others. Moreover, we can use those processes to theorize from and about our own practices, making knowledge and coming to understandings that will themselves be revised through reflection” (1998, p. 6, emphasis in the original).

Dr. Olds continues by arguing the importance of reflection by asking the questions—why should we care about reflection? She says, “It can be argued that a hallmark of the educated (as opposed to trained) individual is the ability to reflect on his/her goals and how he/she has met or failed to meet them” (p. 2). She then connects ABET criteria to one’s ability to reflect.

In continuing this argument, she questions—how can students be encouraged to be reflective? To make this argument, Dr. Olds connects to Schön’s work on “reflective practitioners” and “reflection-in-action.” She says, “good engineers are those who practice reflection-in-action; engineering educators can help by emphasizing that much engineering problem solving involves dealing with ‘poorly understood situations’ where reflection helps with understanding both the problem and the practitioner” (p. 3).

One way she and her colleagues are supporting students in being reflective is through portfolios. She describes the longitudinal reflective portfolio assessment:

  • Honor students enroll in and participant in an honor program seminar every semester.
  • The seminar moderator guides students through activities that help them focus on 2-4 of the honor program’s goals (e.g., communication, team work, critical analysis, etc.).
  • At the end of the semester, students select work to include in their portfolio, write a reflection to accompany each selected work, and write a reflection about the seminar.
  • After students have updated their portfolio for the semester, the moderators review the portfolios, hold a tutorial with each student, and write an evaluation of the student’s progress in meeting his or her goals.
  • At the end of the honors program, students write a longer evaluation of their growth in the program.
  • After students have written the longer evaluation, a faculty team reviews the portfolio and meets with each student individually for an exit interview and summative assessment.

At the end of the article, Dr. Olds characterizes the portfolio as largely successful, but emphasizes that they are “continu[ing] to refine it to meet the twin goals of providing feedback to the program for curriculum improvement and feedback to the students for their personal growth” (p. 7). In concluding she offers two tips: close the loop with reflection and monitor the program for participation by both students and faculty.

Citations

Olds, B. M. (2000). Reflection as an Assessment Measure. In Proceedings of the 2000 American Society of Engineering Education Conference. St. Louis, MO.

Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Josey-Bass.

Yancey, K. B. (1998). Reflection in the Writing Classroom. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

CPREE @ ASEE 2015

By: Brook Sattler, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinator

One of our highlights of the year has been the strong CPREE presence at the 2015 ASEE conference, which was held in Seattle from June 14-17. This strong presence included a workshop, a CPREE reception, CELT reception, and three CPREE related papers.

In the well-attended and very successful workshop (actually sold out and over 50 workshop attendees)–“Promoting reflection and reflection activities in engineering education”–the UW CPREE team and colleagues from 7 of the campuses guided workshop participants through a range of activities: exploring the power of reflection in learning; identifying what you might take into account when choosing, designing, and implementing a reflection activity; adapting a reflection activity to different contexts; and developing a plan for adapting a reflection activity.

After the workshop, attendees reflected on their experience in the workshop (yes, a good opportunity to “drink from our own Kool Aid”). Here are a few quotes from workshop attendees:

When reflecting on the prompt “One realization I had is,” some workshop attendees said:

  • “Reflection comes in many forms.”
  • “Reflection takes time but it is not impossible!”
  • “The excitement I have about reflection is shared by far more people than I initially believed.”
  • “Reflection is just as ‘technically necessary’ to engineering than most students perceive but they will eventually get it.”

When reflecting on the prompt “Something I’d like to know more about,” some workshop attendees said:

  • “How to assess reflection/critical thinking skills against expected or encountered intellectual development.”
  • “How to increase the values of reflection activities from students’ perspectives.”
  • “Good grading rubrics for reflection activities.”

When reflecting on the prompt “My next step with reflection is,” some workshop attendees said:

  • “Redesign some of my class activities. Design a rubric to evaluate the students’ reflections.”
  • “Find ways to train myself to make reflection more like a lifestyle and be intentional in finding opportunities to reflect…and share it with others when possible to reflect further.”
  • “Integrate new activities that highlight the flexibility of reflection.”

We also had three paper presentations that described our CPREE work :

There was strong interest across the engineering education community about reflection in general, and the CPREE activities in particular, with many people expressing interest in the field guide entries that will be available on the CPREE website.

Reflection at Stanford

By: Brook Sattler, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinator

On my year one visit to Stanford, I had the pleasure of spending time with co-PIs Dr. Sheri Sheppard and Dr. Helen Chen. In partnership with Stanford’s Center for Teaching & Learning, we hosted a workshop on reflection—“Brainstorming Strategies to Foster Reflective Practices in STEM Classrooms.”

In this workshop, we shared information about CPREE and how workshop participants could get involved in the project on Stanford’s campus. The main workshop activity was the “Reflection Mad Libs” activity. During this activity, workshop participants worked together to fill in these Mad Libs:

    1. Reflection helps ­__X___ to __Y___, in order to __Z___.
    2. Reflection helps __X___ to __Y___.
    3. Reflection is important because __X___.
    4. Graduates with reflection skills will be able to __X___.
    5. **Create your own**

****­__X___        ****__Y___, ***__Z___.

Over 20 students, staff, and faculty participated in the workshop; this diverse turn out led to rich conversations. I look forward to seeing how these rich conversations lead to more reflection integrated into the culture at Stanford.

Research Brief: Trends in Reflection

By: Lauren Sepp, UW Graduate Student, Human Centered Design & Engineering

Here at the Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching (CELT), we are always interested in the topic of reflection, and have been working to uncover more information about the trends of reflection in general.  A current project is focused on examining the trends of reflection in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) conference publications.  Our question is, how much explicit, named attention has reflection received in engineering education scholarship and how do we interpret these results?

Our initial approach examined the explicit references to reflection in the ASEE conference papers since its inception by manually sorting through the papers for words relating to reflection.  The resulting trend is quite impressive.  Since 1996, there has been a steady upward growth of papers mentioning reflection.  In 1996, only 6 papers mentioned reflection whereas in 2014, over 200 papers mentioned reflection to varying degrees.  Some papers mention reflection briefly as they explain how students were asked to write reflective essays, where other papers explicitly call out and highlight the importance of reflection in engineering education and furthermore link its importance to transforming students. “Reflective practices are one method for transforming students and helping them to become more open to taking challenges and integrating them into new applications.” [1] Whether the papers make bold statements regarding the effectiveness of reflection, or simply mention small reflective activities, the broad acknowledgement of reflection is a tell-tale sign that more educators are recognizing its importance. We are excited to present the results of these findings at the ASEE Annual Conference next month.

Figure 1 - Number of  ASEE Conference Papers Mentioning Reflection
Figure 1 – Number of ASEE Conference Papers Mentioning Reflection

 

The Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE) is partnered  with other educators to majorly contribute to the conversation on reflection – we want to bring to light the importance of reflection as a tool to improve student educative experiences among other things.   As we collect reflective activities and practices across our 12 unique campuses, we have the privilege to sit in the front row, watching how reflection is changing the face of engineering programs.

 

[1] T. R. Forin, “A Personal Account on Implementing Reflective Practices,” in American Society for Engineering Education, Indianapolis, 2014.