Core Course 1: The Role of Cognition in Engineering and Technology Education

In the first NCETE core course, The Role of Cognition in Engineering and Technology Education, the fellows were expected to be both consumers and producers of educational research. The majority of the course readings described empirical studies of cognition that focused on technical learning and thinking. Each student was expected to analyze a research study and present the major concepts from the article to the class. The fellows were also expected to write and present a major paper that reviewed and synthesized the literature on a critical issue related to cognition in engineering and technology education. Each fellow was also expected to conduct an analysis of expertise in a domain of his or her choice using the protocol analysis method. This method of research was introduced in class as a way to empirically capture the thought processes that are used as the research participant completes a task. The fellows designed and conducted the research study and wrote a technical report that included a description of the problem being addressed, the methods used to collect and analyze data, and the results and conclusions. The fellows also made formal presentations of their research study to the class.

Core Course 2: Design Thinking in Engineering and Technology Education

In the second core course, Design Thinking in Engineering and Technology Education, the fellows continued to be consumers and producers of educational research. The course explored the concept that design is the primary conceptual anchor for technology education, drawing the subject ever more tightly toward engineering. As the doctoral students reviewed contemporary literature in design thinking, they were asked to identify the conceptual framework against which the study was set, the quality of the research problem, the design/methodological approach of the study, the findings and recommendations, and study limitations. The students were expected to analyze a body of research and develop a journal-quality synthesis paper. One instructor has expressed his willingness to help the students develop their synthesis paper into a journal article at the conclusion of the course.

Core Course 3: Engineering Design: Synthesis, Analysis, and Systems Thinking

The third NCETE core course, Engineering Design: Synthesis, Analysis and Systems Thinking, provided the fellows with an academic experience that fostered critical questions and recognition and identification of potential problem issues associated with infusing engineering design into K-12. The course identified the drivers of engineering design and the challenges of appropriately modulating qualitative reflection, quantitative analysis, critical thinking, mathematics and science within an engineering design process for Technology Education teachers and K-12 students. Fellows were asked to develop a curriculum model that integrates engineering design concepts and activities into a technology education program.

Core Course 4: Engineering Design in STEM Ed

The fourth NCETE core course, Engineering Design in STEM Ed, focused on the integration of engineering design principles via engineering design challenges through research, development, and evaluation in grades 9-12 Engineering and Technology Education. Concepts of curriculum development and students as both teachers and learners were integrated with engineering problem solving, analysis, modeling, optimization, and design. The differences between the Engineering and Technology Education approaches to design were discussed, and engineering learning modules were developed that were exemplars of the engineering approach. The course focused on research and development of various aspects of high-school-level engineering design challenges, and on how evaluation and assessment could be used to improve the teaching and learning in Engineering and Technology Education. Professional development methodologies to integrate engineering design were also explored.

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This material is based on work supported by the
National Science Foundation Under Grant No. ESI-0426421