CREATE research group is a multidisciplinary collaboration of researchers working on different aspects of engineering education research. The exchange of ideas and insights enabled the members of the PREFER team to take a fresh perspective and to approach our work from a different angle.
In an interactive format, following topics were discussed:
1. Mariana Leandro Cruz (TU Delft) - Development Curriculum elements on professional skills
Mariana presented the state-of-affairs regarding her work of the development of the curriculum elements. More specifically, she shared the output of the Chinese whisper exercise that has been piloted at TU Delft, KU Leuven and TU Dublin. Practical arrangements for implementing these curriculum elements in other institutions were discussed between all participants. More specifically, the practical configuration of transferring research findings on curriculum elements to other institutional contexts was addressed.
2. Darren Carthy (TU Dublin) - Development test tool
Darren presented the outcomes of the pilot data of the motivational test that has been running at TU Dublin and KU Leuven. Based on a the feedback data of the TU Dublin and KU Leuven sample, results look promising. Students generally seem to be interested in their personal result and the majority indicated that (1) they found the cases interesting and (2) that they enjoyed filling in the test. These positive impressions indicate that there is a clear need for engineering students to get acquainted with the professional roles model.
3. Maarten Pinxten & Sofie Craps (KU Leuven) - Development Professional Roles Model
The KU Leuven team presented the state-of-affairs of the research on the professional roles framework. In the CREATE workshop, the professional roles model was presented together with associated competences identified through a series of industry expert panels. Doctoral researcher Sofie Craps (KU Leuven) is currently examining the role of awareness of the professional roles on job expectancies and job fit. Using a longitudinal research design, she will investigate the effect of exposure to the model to student’s career choices.
4. Una Beagon (TU Dublin) - University lecturers' perceptions of engineering professional skills
Doctoral researcher Una Beagon presented the output of her study on how academics experience professional skills in engineering education. Through mixed-methods research, she is identifying the ways in which academics conceptualize teaching and professional skills. Preliminary findings of 2 qualitative interviews based on phenomenographic methodology indicate that professional skills are either perceived as an wider umbrella term and even sometimes as a subset (‘enabeler’) of technical skills.
5. Rachel Harding (TU Dublin) - Spatial skills of pre-service teachers in Ireland
Doctoral researcher Rachel Harding focuses on spatial skills. Prior research has indicated that pre-service teachers’ levels of geometry and spatial abilities are substantially weaker compared to other math domains. In her research, she is currently examining the role of spatial anxiety in pre-service teacher preparation to the labor market. More specifically, she is empirically investigating the relation between spatial anxiety and spatial abilities and gender differences in this relation.
6. Diana Adela Martin (TU Dublin) - Evidence of ethics in Engineering Accreditation documents
The research of doctoral researcher Diana Adela Martin centers on the role of ethics in engineering education. In order to enhance the social responsibilities of engineers, she is currently examining patterns of ethics education in engineering education through mixed-methods research. Based on qualitative analysis of programme documents submitted for accreditation and interviews with lecturers, she aims to determine the role of ethics in the engineering curriculum. Additionally, based on a quantitative analysis of the POLO-scores (ranging between 0-4) for seven programme outcomes, the relative position of ethics compared to other skills is numerically determined.