Tonight is the ASEE chapter meeting, which I can't make. I did float an idea past Nick (our chapter president) and am curious what others think. One conversation I'd like to have (and would be happy to lead) is whether there's a way the students at Purdue can use the privilege we have of being able to study engineering education full-time, to help others in engineering interested in the field who don't have that luxury (think most GEECS members and undergrads keen on the topic).

A small but concrete step towards that end would be making our core curriculum syllabus and readings lists available and readable by people who aren't taking the classes. Some syllabi are already available online, but would need annotation. Others are outdated or can't be found at all. The idea would be that someone interested in getting a quick overview of engineering education would typically not know what the study of it even entails -- so they could look here and go "ah, that's what they learn..." and if they're really keen, find a few papers and read them to get a flavor of the sorts of ideas and thinkings out there. Putting a bit of transparency into "what it's like" to study engineering education in academe, helping people go beyond the "I'm an interested practitioner!" phase.

For external people: is this a resource that might be of interest to you? If so, what format would be most helpful, and how do you imagine you might use it? (Not a binding commitment. Even if you don't have time to use it, brainstorm how you would.)

For Purdue students: the work would involve going to the faculty teaching each of the core classes (we don't have that many) and asking for permission to make the syllabus available, then getting the syllabus files and expanding them (take out grading criteria, write a summary of the class at top, expand project descriptions, maybe write a 2-3 sentence summary of each reading in a sort of annotated-bibliography thing and mark the ones we consider to be the key readings for the class -- all this would be extremely easy for someone who's currently enrolled in that class). Then all that information would need to be centrally compiled/edited on a webpage somewhere (I'm happy to do this).

Our core classes:

  • Inquiry ("hey engineers, let's talk about qualitative research methods because you're probably not used to them")
  • Seminar (of which I'd likely just highlight the discussion on Changing the Converation, a NAE piece on external perceptions of the engineering field)
  • History & Philosophy of Engineering Education (capturing this would be a big job; it's a heck of a class)
  • Content, Assessment, and Pedagogy (designing effective learning experiences)
  • Engineering Thinking and Development (educational/developmental psychology as it relates to engineering learning)
  • Leadership, Policy, and Change (I can't speak to this as I haven't taken it yet, but the title seems fairly representative)

If this sounds like a reasonable project to fall under the umbrella of ASEE, and others think our faculty members would be amenable to it, I'm happy to lead and to do a bunch of legwork. Mostly I need volunteers who are currently or recently enrolled in a particular ENE core class who'd be willing to talk with the prof & get the syllabus for that class (at least 1 per core class, 2 or 3 would be ideal). The finishing touches/edits on this would make a good evening sprint over dinner (which I'm happy to cook).

I'm also looking for a long weekend where I'll be able to finish materials for the overdue blogging workshop for the summer. This weekend should be devoted to FIE prep. Maybe the week after, the week of the 7th of October. I also need to think about when I want to have my two-week writing period for readiness (our version of quals); I suspect it might be good to do it after my first dance concert, but before I do an Olin recruitment visit. Then at some point, Farrah and I need to design our DSP class syllabus for the spring semester. Breathing calmly through all this and pacing myself sustainably; I'm a lot better at scheduling in time to rest, do laundry, cook food, and so forth. It's hard work -- more grueling than a full-out sprint, becuase I also need to watch my control, budget my energy. It's not about maximizing effort; it's about maximizing effectiveness, and that's something I'm constantly trying to internalize.