Kate Goodman and I have proposed a special session for the 2015 Frontiers in Education conference. Our goals are
- To foster conversation and document ideas about how the aesthetic qualities of engineering topics can be used to deliberately draw the emotional engagement of students.
- To gauge how the FIE community currently views the aesthetics of engineering, and brainstorm new visions for how aesthetics could be used to improve recruitment and retention of a diverse student population as well as lead to innovative methods for the teaching and learning of core engineering content.
- To explore the feasibility of viewing aesthetics-driven emotional engagement as a necessity and not an ancillary benefit in course design.
Really, we want to move forward on creating community around this idea. Noah Finkelstein and I did a version of this workshop at the Physics Education Research Conference 2013, and Kate and I did it in February at the CU Boulder DBER meeting. We’ve had great conversations so far, and FIE seems like the perfect next venue. Here is our proposal for the session, complete with details.
We are hoping that participants will be interested enough to check out this little background paper, or at least use it to decide whether to attend. Comments welcome!
Kate Goodman has been analyzing interviews from our May 2014 Aesthetics In Design course. From a post-course interview:
“…she wants us to struggle… and in the same time not punish us for failing. It’s not about how well you do compared to others, it’s about how you really put in the hard effort and develop yourself, which is unlike any of the other classes. Other classes are based on competition. This one is totally based on self-improvement to my understanding. Because that’s what happened in the end when I sort of felt like I failed you know. But she was like, look what you learned, which made me feel so great because I did learn a lot.”
This made me feel so great! Sometimes education research reveals that students are not learning what we want them to learn, what we expect them to learn. When we find out that yeah! they did get it, well… sparkle.
As you can see, I have a small but active program, with lots of opportunities. However, I don’t spend a lot of time hunting for money, so I don’t have a lot of funding. No open funded positions at the moment, but when I do get an opening there often isn’t a lot of time to find somebody, so please check back here now and then. I’m always happy to help students apply for the NSF Graduate Fellowship, and explore overlapping interests with self-funded students.
I prefer to work collaboratively with my graduate students on topics of mutual interest. I expect my students to be self-motivated and own their research. I love to provide resources in the form of basics like equipment, space and funding (when possible). I also believe it’s important to provide introduction to the academic research community; how to proceed through the iterative research process, how to mentor others, and how to communicate with peers and the public. In return I want to make contributions to fun and useful research, and to learn from my students.
Since my program is small I can provide individual attention. My current students are spread across my interests, with not a lot of overlap, so we have separate weekly project meetings (most projects have undergrads assisting us) instead of a big group meeting.
If you like the sound of this, please contact me directly!
December 9 2014 I gave an invited seminar at Northern New Mexico College. They are in the process of evolving from a community college with 2 year degrees to a four year college, and are starting a Mechanical Engineering Technology program. Their students are very different from the students here at CU: 75% Latino/hispanic, 18% Native American, mostly Northern Pueblos, with a wide range of values, interests and preparation levels. We are exploring whether something like Flow Vis offered to incoming students will help with recruitment and retention of this population.
Jean R Hertzberg, Katherine Goodman, Tim Curran, and Noah Finkelstein. “Flow Vis and Beyond: ⬚The Power of Aesthetics in Engineering Education.” Invited, Northern New Mexico College, December 9, 2014. Powerpoint PDF: Jean R Hertzberg et al_2014_Flow Vis and Beyond
And I got a very nice gift box.