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Shining Light on STEM Education Research Institute for STEM Education ©RISE at The University of Oklahoma I wish someone would have told me….Undergraduate engineering majors offer advice to HS students Lindsey S. McClure, Tyler S. Combrink, Cindy E. Foor, Susan E. Walden, Deborah A. Trytten, Teri Reed Rhoads Research Institute for STEM Education K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Research Institute for STEM Education Personnel Faculty from 6 departments STEM and Social Sciences Graduate and undergraduate students Study factors contributing to academic success Gender and ethnic diversity College, department and individuals Multiple research methods Physical science and engineering outreach to local schools
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Research Methodology NSF-funded research project to find out why women highly represented in one engineering discipline, but not in others Ethnographic research model One-two hour semi-structured interviews Interviewer uses probes to elicit additional information Targeted sampling – 1 st come, 1 st interviewed, volunteers based on major, gender, and classification Participants received nominal financial incentive
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Participant Demographics InstitutionMajorMF HUIndustrial Eng. (IE)2427 HUComputer Science (CS) 13*9 HUElectrical & Computer Eng. (ECE) 16*3 HUChemical Eng. (XE) 1013 HUPhysics (PH)64 MUIndustrial Eng.1214 EUIndustrial Eng.710 SUIndustrial Eng.414 TotalAll Institutions91*94 MajorLower Division Upper Division CS318.5* XE914 ECE216.5* IE22120 PH46 Total40175 * One male student is counted for both CS and ECE because of double major.
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Data Analysis Asked, “If you could give advice to freshmen coming into engineering, what would that be?” Interview audio transcribed, reviewed, cleared of proper names, and coarsely coded Ref: N-Vivo software Themes from responses emerged with fine-coding Each interview reviewed for whether advice arises from experience or wishful thinking Themes were measured against literature base Developed metaphor to structure identified themes
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma As You Like It All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. --William Shakespeare – from As You Like It
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Setting the Stage Importance of preparing for college Academically and financially 4%, 8/185, 2 M, 6 F Choose a major 23%, 43/185, 23 M, 20 F Introductory classes 5%, 10/185, 4 M, 6 F
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Setting the Stage “…take some college classes while you’re in high school, so you have that transition. You understand what college classes are like before [you start college].” (female, upper division) You should have a sense of what you want to do and you should look into the future and see if it’s going to be worth while and you should be interested in what you like. Because you’re not going to be successful if you don’t like it… (female, lower division)
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Direct for Success Time management and setting priorities Course load and schedule 14%, 25/185, 14 M, 11 F General Education classes 4%, 8/185, 4 M, 4 F Balance work and play 17%, 32/185, 14 M, 18 F
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Direct for Success “…the freedom you get whenever you come to college is something that overwhelms a lot of people. And if you want to be an engineer and make it worth while, you have to put the time into it.” (male, upper division) Get course advising very early and an idea of recurrence very early. One of the reasons it took me five years, one issue is because I was out of the rotation for the course schedule so I had to wait for these courses to come around so I just take other fillers at a time. (male, upper division)
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Direct for Success Develop dependable study habits Get assistance 11%, 20/185, 10 M, 10 F Office hours Classroom behaviors 28%, 51/185, 23 M, 28 F Pay attention in class Do homework Work hard 14%, 25/185, 7 M, 18 F
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Direct for Success “…make sure you go to every class. Attend office hours. Keep up with your work, because it’s hard once you get behind…In engineering, if you are not there to watch them explain it to you, it’s very hard to pick it up just from the book.” (female, upper division) I didn’t do that (pause) when was it - probably those semesters I was struggling I didn’t go to office hours, you know. And I don’t know if there’s a direct relationship between when my grades started getting better and whenever I started camping out in the TAs office. (female, IE, upper division)
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Supporting Cast Networking Cast of Peers: fellow students 13%, 24/185, 13 M, 11 F Supporting Patrons: faculty 12%, 23/185, 11 M, 12 F Join the Guild: extracurricular activities 17%, 31/185, 7 M, 24 F
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Supporting Cast “Definitely make friends within your major because engineering seems to be so group oriented and…I just don’t see how anyone could get though engineering anytime, without working with others.” (female, upper division) …get to know the professors, I wish I had talked to the professors more early on in my career. I could have been doing research much sooner; I could have been getting involved in things going on in the department much sooner. (female, IE, upper division)
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Responding to the Critics Who are the Critics? External Grades Curriculum Internal Self-doubt Don’t give up 17%, 32/185, 14 M, 18 F “…just don’t get discouraged with the work. Look toward what you want out of it in the end.” (male, lower division)
©RISE at The University of Oklahoma Grand Finale A student is not just an actor in this play, but is also the director and producer. “…for the most part, it’s not like high school, you definitely need to be in charge of your destiny and fight for it.” (female, upper division)
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