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Developing Engineering Student’s Philosophical Inquiry Skills. Russell Korte, korte@illinois.edu University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Karl Smith ksmith@umn.edu Purdue University 35 th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Special Session October 19, 2009.

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developing engineering student s philosophical inquiry skills
Developing Engineering Student’sPhilosophical Inquiry Skills

Russell Korte,

korte@illinois.edu

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Karl Smith

ksmith@umn.edu

Purdue University

35th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference

Special Session

October 19, 2009

curiosity and the desire to know
Curiosity and the desire to know

“It is through wonder that men now begin and originally began to philosophize, wondering in the first place at obvious perplexities, and then by gradual progression raising questions about the greater matters too.” Aristotle

session overview
Session Overview
  • Welcome
  • Rationale
    • Why are we here?
    • Session objectives
  • Developing Student’s Philosophical Inquiry Skills
    • What are they?
    • How to develop?
    • Why bother?
  • Planning for inclusion in engineering courses and programs
  • Summary and Next Steps
rationale
Rationale
  • Research on transitions from school-to-the workplace identified important knowledge and skills mostly missing from students’ educational experiences.
  • Aims of developing more rigorous skills of inquiry and argument in engineering education.
  • David Goldberg identified the “Missing Basics”—what students can’t do. (see www.ifoundry.illinois.edu)
session objectives
Session Objectives
  • Participants will be able to
    • Explain rationale for developing student’s philosophical inquiry skills
    • Describe key features of philosophical inquiry
    • Identify opportunities in courses and programs for including their development
why focus on philosophical inquiry
Why focus on philosophical inquiry?
  • Fosters significant, long-lasting learning for all students.
  • Develops more coherent systems of knowledge and beliefs.
  • Enhances practice and profession of engineering.
  • Brings faculty’s work as teachers into the scholarly realm.
action
Action

Individually:

Identify at least 2-3 important questions regarding engineering and/or engineering education.

Save the questions for later.

definitions
Definitions
  • Philosophy
    • Study of the fundamental nature of knowledge and reality; study of the theoretical basis of a branch of knowledge; guides behavior (OED).
  • Critical Thinking
    • Analysis and assessment of arguments (Bowell & Kemp, 2002).
  • Reasoning
    • To think, understand, and form judgments logically (OED).
  • Reflection
    • Serious thought or consideration (OED).
definitions1
Definitions
  • Philosophical Inquiry
    • To question or examine philosophical truths, principles, or knowledge (Webster’s).
  • Philosophize
    • Theorize about fundamental or serious issues (OED).
definitions2
Definitions
  • Philosophical inquiry
    • To question or examine philosophical truths, principles, or knowledge (Webster’s).
  • Philosophize
    • Theorize about fundamental or serious issues—especially tediously (OED).
framework of discussion
Framework of Discussion

Philosophical inquiry

Reflection

Critical Thinking

Reasoning

philosophical inquiry as an educational process
Philosophical inquiry as an educational process

Goal of college education: epistemological development.

“Transformation of one’s way of thinking: from uncritical acceptance of knowledge to a critical development of knowledge.” (Baxter Magolda, 2006)

aim of philosophical inquiry
Aim of philosophical inquiry

More adequate understanding (better understanding) for the purpose of more adequate practice (better choices). (Rescher, 2001)

To systematically develop our knowledge.

process of philosophical inquiry
Process of philosophical inquiry

Philosophical inquiry is developing a rational, coherent understanding of reality by systematically estimating this reality from the available data/information (Rescher, 2001).

Objectives of philosophical inquiry :

  • Informative
  • Prescriptive
  • Evaluative
philosophical data
Philosophical data

The data of philosophical inquiry is:

  • common sense beliefs, common knowledge;
  • the facts afforded by science, experts, and authorities;
  • the lessons learned from our experiences;
  • the opinions constituting the worldview of our culture/context;
  • traditional wisdom and lore; and
  • the “teachings of history.”(Rescher, 2001)
evaluative criteria
Evaluative criteria

Does a philosophical system of beliefs:

  • Address and resolve broader range of important questions.
  • Present greater internal and systemic coherence.
  • Have fewer anomalies.
  • Require less elaboration (less complex/complicated).
  • Have better substantiated principles (less artificial or contrived).
  • Fit to everyday life and experience better.
  • Encourage a more rewarding and beneficial perspective.

(Rescher, 2001)

analysis synthesis of data
Analysis & Synthesis of Data

Regarding a philosophical statement:

  • What is the question?
  • What are the main arguments or claims that answer the question?
  • What is the support for these arguments or claims?
  • What are the assumptions?
  • What subsequent questions arise?
  • Repeat 2 – 6.
  • Is this system of beliefs and knowledge coherent?
levels of assumptions
Levels of assumptions
  • Paradigmatic assumptions
      • Assumptions believed to be the objective facts or truths about reality (philosophical orientations). Hardest to uncover and challenges are met with great resistance.
  • Prescriptive assumptions
      • Assumptions about what should be happening and why.
  • Causal assumptions
      • Predictors used to develop recommendations and solutions.
chains of inquiry
Chains of inquiry

1. Question

1a. Assumptions

2. Question

2. Question

2a. Assumptions

2a. Assumptions

3. Question

3. Question

3. Question

3a. Assumptions

3a. Assumptions

3a. Assumptions

4. Question

4. Question

4. Question

4. Question

4. Question

4a. Assumptions

4a. Assumptions

4a. Assumptions

4a. Assumptions

4a. Assumptions

what is the aim of engineering education
What is the aim of engineering education?
  • The aims of engineering education is to provide an opportunity for all individuals interested in becoming an engineer, regardless of previous academic background yet recognizing limitations may exist. The purpose of engineering education is to provide the best educational opportunities for learning engineering. The goal of engineering education is to prepare the next generation of engineers for service to whomever they choose, (student)
what is the aim of engineering education1
What is the aim of engineering education?
  • The aims of engineering education is to provide an opportunity for all individuals interested in becoming an engineer, regardless of previous academic background yet recognizing limitations may exist. The purpose of engineering education is to provide the best educational opportunities for learning engineering. The goal of engineering education is to prepare the next generation of engineers for service to whomever they choose, (student)
what is the aim of engineering education2
What is the aim of engineering education?

Assumptions:

  • Individuals know what engineering is before they start their education.
  • There are limits to who can access.
  • Educational opportunities vary.
  • Engineers choose the beneficiaries of their service.
what is the aim of engineering education3
What is the aim of engineering education?

Subsequent questions:

  • Do individuals know what engineering is before they start their education? How do they know?
  • What are the limits to who can access. Why?
  • How do educational opportunities vary.
  • Should engineers choose the beneficiaries of their service.
action1
Action

1. Question

Small groups

Choose a question from one of the lists made earlier, or identify a new question.

Map out a chain of inquiry through through at least 3 levels.

Post and report back.

1a. Assumptions

2. Question

2. Question

2a. Assumptions

2a. Assumptions

3. Question

3. Question

3. Question

3a. Assumptions

3a. Assumptions

3a. Assumptions

transfer to the classroom
Transfer to the classroom.

Small groups

Identify instructional activities to help students develop philosophical inquiry skills.

Post and report back.

analysis synthesis of data1
Analysis & Synthesis of Data
  • What is engineering?
    • What should engineering be?
  • What is the purpose of engineering?
  • What should engineers do?
    • How should they do it?
  • Who gets to become an engineer? Why?
    • Who should become an engineer? Why?
analysis synthesis of data2
Analysis & Synthesis of Data
  • What is the nature of scientific reasoning?
  • What is the nature of mathematical reasoning?
questions
Questions

Education

  • What is the nature of education?
  • What is the nature of learning?
interpretations of engineering
Interpretations of engineering
  • Engineering as applied science
  • Engineering as profession
  • Engineering as design
  • Engineering as a social process
what is on the agenda
What is on the agenda?

Views about:

  • Nature of reality
  • Nature of learning
  • Nature of morals and ethics
  • Nature of Aesthetics
rationale1
Rationale
  • NSF – Shaping the Future
  • National Science Standards
  • Employers
  • Hutchings & Shulman – Levels of Inquiry?
slide32

Shaping the Future: New Expectations for Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology – National Science Foundation, 1996

Goal – All students have access to supportive, excellent undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, and all students learn these subjects by direct experience with the methods and processes of inquiry.

Recommend that SME&T faculty: Believe and affirm that every student can learn, and model good practices that increase learning; starting with the student=s experience, but have high expectations within a supportive climate; and build inquiry, a sense of wonder and the excitement of discovery, plus communication and teamwork, critical thinking, and life-long learning skills into learning experiences.

32

inquiry and the national science standards
Inquiry and the National Science Standards
  • Learners are engaged in scientifically oriented questions
  • Learners give priority to evidence, which allows them to develop and evaluate explanations
  • Learners formulate explanations from evidence
  • Learners evaluate their explanations in light of alternative explanations
  • Learners communicate and justify their proposed explanations

National Academy of Sciences. 2000. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press (http://www.nap.edu)

33

slide34

http://www.aacu.org/advocacy/leap/documents/Re8097abcombined.pdfhttp://www.aacu.org/advocacy/leap/documents/Re8097abcombined.pdf

34

levels of inquiry hutchings shulman
Levels of Inquiry(Hutchings &Shulman)

Source: Streveler, R., Borrego, M. and Smith, K.A. 2007. Moving from the “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” to “Educational Research:” An Example from Engineering. Improve the Academy, Vol. 25, 139-149.

  • Level 0Teacher
    • Teach as taught
  • Level 1 Effective Teacher
    • Teach using accepted teaching theories and practices
  • Level 2 Scholarly Teacher
    • Assesses performance and makes improvements
  • Level 3 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
    • Engages in educational experimentation, shares results
  • Level 4 Engineering Education Researcher
    • Conducts educational research, publishes archival papers
the research process and reasoning
The research process and reasoning

Practical

Problem

and helps

motivates

Research Answer

Research Question

leads to

informs

Warrant

Research Problem

Claim Reason Evidence

Research Process

Acknowledgment and Response

Research Reasoning

slide37

Template for developing statement

    • Creating a chain of claims, inferential chain
    • Foundationalism or coherentism
  • Examples of student philosophies of eng ed.
slide38

Reliance on science, math, and scientific method often underdetermines the requirements of the problem.

resources
Resources
  • Adams, R., L. Fleming, and K. Smith. 2007. Becoming an engineering education researcher: Three researchers stories and their intersections, extensions, and lessons. Proceedings, International Conference on Research in Engineering Education;http://www.ce.umn.edu/~smith/docs/Adams-Fleming-Smith-Becoming_an_engineering_education_researcher-ICREE2007.pdf
  • Annals of Research on Engineering Education; http://www.areeonline.org
  • Baxter Magolda, M. B., (2006). Intellectual development in the college years. Change (May-June), 50-54.
  • Borrego, M., R.A. Streveler, R.L. Miller, and K.A. Smith. 2008. A new paradigm for a new field: Communicating representations of engineering education research. Journal of Engineering Education 97 (2): 147-162; http://www.asee.org/conferences/international/2008/upload/A-New-Paradigm-for-a-New-Field.pdf
  • Booth, W.C., G.G. Colomb, and J.M. Williams. 2008. The craft of research. 3rd ed. Chicago, Il: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Boyer, Ernest L. 1990. Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education; http://www.nae.edu/nae/caseecomnew.nsf
  • Diamond, R., “The Mission-Driven Faculty Reward System,” in R.M. Diamond, Ed., Field Guide to Academic Leadership, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002
  • Diamond R. & Adam, B. 1993. Recognizing faculty work: Reward systems for the year 2000. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Journal of Engineering Education; http://www.asee.org/publications/jee/index.cfm
  • Hutchings, P., and Shulman, L.S. 1999. The scholarship of teaching: New elaborations, new developments. Change, 31 (5), 10-15. http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/publications/sub.asp?key=452&subkey=613
  • National Research Council. 2002. Scientific research in education. R.J. Shavelson and L. Towne, eds. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10236&page=R1
  • Rescher, N. “Philosophical reasoning: A study in the methodology of philosophizing. “ Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001
  • Shulman, Lee S. 1999. Taking learning seriously. Change, 31 (4), 11-17.
  • Smith, K.A. 2006. Continuing to build engineering education research capabilities. IEEE Transactions on Education 49 (1): 1-3; http://www.asee.org/conferences/international/2008/upload/Continuing-to-Build-Eng-Education-Research-Capabilities.pdf
  • Streveler, R.A., and K.A. Smith. 2006. Conducting rigorous research in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education 95 (2): 103-105; http://www.asee.org/conferences/international/2008/upload/Conducting-Rigorous-Research-in-Eng-Education.pdf
  • Wankat, P.C., Felder, R.M., Smith, K.A. and Oreovicz, F. 2001. The scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering. In Huber, M.T &Morreale, S. (Eds.), Disciplinary styles in the scholarship of teaching and learning: A conversation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
slide40
Contact Information:
  • Russell Korte, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Human Resource Education, College of Education
  • Fellow, iFoundry, College of Engineering
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 351 Education Building, MC-708
  • 1310 South Sixth Street
  • Champaign, IL 61820
  • 217-333-0807 voice
  • 217-244-5632 fax
  • korte@illinois.edu
  • www.hre.uiuc.edu
slide41
Contact Information:
  • Karl A. Smith, Ph.D.

Cooperative Learning Professor of Engineering EducationDepartment of Engineering EducationPurdue University (Part Time)Neil Armstrong Hall, Rm 1313 701 West Stadium Avenue Purdue University West Lafayette, IN  47907-2045https://engineering.purdue.edu/ENE/Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching ProfessorProfessor of Civil EngineeringCivil Engineering (Phased Retirement)University of Minnesota236 Civil Engineering500 Pillsbury Drive SEMinneapolis, MN  55455http://www.ce.umn.edu/people/faculty/smith/E-mail: ksmith@umn.eduSkype: kasmithtc

Editor-in-Chief, Annals of Research on Engineering Education (AREE)http://www.areeonline.org