In order to engage communities, engineering educators must build networks with diverse community organizations. These community organizations primarily act as clients for student design teams. Engineering students are expected to treat clients with respect while developing solutions that solve a real problem found in the community organization. However, engineering students might not view people within the community organization as crucial stakeholders who have valuable information. The purpose of this paper is to explore how engineering students seek information during site visits to community partners.This paper analyzes students in a simulation activity to observe how students interact with different kinds of stakeholders present in a community organization. Students attended a workshop organized around a simulated site visit to a university library. The instructor chose to use a university library as a simulated community partner because diverse stakeholder groups likely encounter different problems. Moreover, student teams may unintentionally overlook several stakeholder groups, such as members of the general public and work-study students working in the library.The researcher collected data using educational assignments. During the 30-minute site visit,student teams identified potential design problems. Student teams developed their information seeking strategy, used a graphic organizer to describe design problems, participated in participatory concept map exercises, and wrote reflections. The instructor led a reflective exercise that challenged students to think about what kinds of stakeholders were consulted, what problems were identified, and the relationship between consulting with stakeholders and identifying problems. Additionally, students were encouraged to reflect on how their own experience with the university library influenced how they approached the problem-finding task.Analysis of the data is ongoing.
2013, ASEE, partnering, community
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