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Title:Assessing the impact of international project participation on student practitioners and engineering education outcomes
Author(s):Jahnke, Keilin Tarum
Director of Research:Witmer, Ann-Perry
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hansen, Alan
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Elliott-Litchfield, J. Bruce; Hathaway Goldstein, Molly
Department / Program:Engineering Administration
Discipline:Agricultural & Biological Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Engineering education
Contextual engineering
International
Student practitioners
Project participation
Student outcomes
Reflection
Abstract:Each year dozens of engineering infrastructure projects in rural communities are facilitated and designed by student practitioners at academic institutions in the United States. These projects are complex with a variety of technical and nontechnical influences and multiple stakeholders who each hold their own set of motivations, attitudes, and desired outcomes. This research first compares six small-scale gravity-fed water distribution system projects, each designed using a contextual training approach for client communities located within a 25-kilometer radius, to demonstrate the significance of understanding and incorporating the nuances of context into decision-making and design. Two studies are then discussed that assess the experiences of international engineering student practitioners who participate on these projects. Findings from a thematic analysis of students who have participated in an applied contextual engineering course indicate that self-reflection and the ongoing gain in knowledge of client needs and project expectations facilitate learning from which students ultimately consider themselves to be holistically-trained, adaptable, and empathetic practitioners. An assessment of student practitioners who have participated in a variety of project opportunities is then discussed and a conceptual framework of learning objectives for applied international engineering programs is proposed. This research indicates that student practitioners not only benefit from participating in applied projects but that an emphasis should be placed on providing rigorous training to prepare these practitioners to perceive and design for contextual distinctions and complexities of project work.
Issue Date:2020-08-18
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/109463
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Keilin Tarum Jahnke
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12


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