15 June 2017

An Anthropologist In Situ: Canadian Engineering Education Association 2017 Conference

As mentioned in our previous blog post, I recently spoke about the potential of bringing anthropological ethics into Engineering classrooms (as per my current teaching role).

I was accepted to speak at the CEEA conference which had Innovation and Diversity in Engineering Education as its theme.

As part of a special symposium on diversity, I wrote a paper on the role of team work workshops in developing a tolerance for diversity and self-reflection.

Below is the paper abstract:
In their quest to find work-ready graduates, employers are increasingly prioritizing graduates with so-called transferable skills. These transferable skills include critical thinking and problem-solving skills, communication skills, and the ability to work in diverse teams. With the plethora of engineering education literature on the topic of developing undergraduates’ teamwork abilities, there are numerous suggestions and little consensus on the best way to develop these skills in engineering classrooms. This paper adds to this literature and provides an overview of group work workshops for first-year undergraduates. The hope for these workshops was to better equip students for future group work activities by providing them easy-to-remember teamwork tools that were first learned and practiced in low-stakes workshop environments. Following their participation in these workshops, students participated in focus groups and feedback demonstrated an appreciation for these workshops as well as the opportunity to self-reflect on their role as a team member. Further, there appeared to be a shift in the awareness and tolerance of the diversity found among group members, which demonstrates a potential area for further investigation. The authors conclude with a call for more research in order to better understand the role of teamwork as a means for developing tolerance toward diversity among first-year undergraduate students. 

Important to Monday's post, these workshops incorporated:
  • The importance of using a holistic perspective to understand how all the parts of Engineering students' come and work together. 
  • Self-reflection to understand the power and privilege of their role and how that role is perceived with the community.
Quick links and further reading: