Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lecture: Approaching Curriculum and Instruction as Design: Melding scholarship and practice

Title: Approaching Curriculum and Instruction as Design: Melding scholarship and practice
When: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 10:00 AM-11:00 AM (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).
Where: SZB Dean's Conference Room
Who: Dr. Ann McKenna- Northwestern University/National Science Foundation

In this talk I will present examples of my curricular development efforts in engineering design education and illustrate my aim to embed scholarship as a central component of curricular design. For example, while curricular development involves practical elements such as defining learning goals, identifying appropriate pedagogical approaches to meet the goals, and implementing ongoing assessment for iterative refinement, there are also fundamental questions that should be explored to inform this process. In particular, one of my research projects is investigating the role of disciplinary knowledge in the process of design. Using the adaptive expertise framework, with a specific focus on computational and analytical knowledge, this project is documenting the type of evidence students¹ use in the process of innovation. Specifically, I am exploring how students apply mathematical reasoning when developing design solutions, with an ultimate aim to better understand how the curriculum can support developing the type of computational skills that is a substantial part of the engineering profession. This talk will also present an overview of this research and describe some of the current findings.

Biography: Ann McKenna is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as a Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy in the Learning Sciences (by courtesy). She holds undergraduate (BS) and graduate degrees (MS) in Mechanical Engineering as well as a PhD in Engineering Education from the University of California at Berkeley (Chair: Marcia Linn). McKenna's research interests center on understanding the cognitive and social processes of design teaching and learning; the role of adaptive expertise in engineering education; engineering faculty pedagogy and conceptions of teaching and learning; creativity and innovation in design/education; investigating institutional strategies and practices that contribute to recruiting and retaining female and underrepresented faculty and students in engineering. Related to both her teaching and research interests, Prof. McKenna is the Director of the Certificate in Engineering Design program in the Segal Design Institute and is co-founder and co-director of the Northwestern Center for Engineering Education Research (NCEER). In my opinion, McKenna has a solid STEM background, enjoys national status in engineering education, has worked extensively with engineers and had achieved a solid publication record. She is currently on leave from Northwestern and is serving as a rotator at the National Science Foundation.


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