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CSTEPS: Collaborative Support Tools for Engineering Problem Solving

The goal of this project is to develop tools to support the collaborative sketch activities of undergraduate engineering students. In collaboration with faculty and students in the College of Engineering, we are conducting a design based project to design and study tools that provide the students with the ability to create shared representations during their collaborative activity, and play back their work, to support refelction within the group or in whole-class presentations.

Initial research focused on the current collaborative practices of the students during their typical class activities. Results indicate that the quality of their collaborations is low, and groups showed little change over a four-week period. This data was used to inform the design of our software. The first implementation focused on differences in collaboration between groups working on 1) individual tablets, 2) synced tablets and 3) multi-touch tables. The second implementation will focus on how play-back tools are used by the students and teaching assistants (instructors).

Project Team

Emma Mericer (PI)

Joshua Peschel (coPI)

Geoffrey Herman (coPI)

Greg Fabry 

Jimmy Canning

Lu Lawrence

Meghan Kessler 

Saad Shehab
Susan Kelly 
Taylor Tucker

In the News

June 12, 2015

Research for improving education looks at TAM students

In today’s world, engineers need a skillset that includes things like collaboration, communication, and being able to apply knowledge to complex problems. 

September 22, 2015

College of Education opens new digital learning research laboratory

The College of Education will host an event Sept. 30 to debut a new research laboratory that enables scholars to study learner interactions with digital technologies in real time while collecting massive amounts of varied data.

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The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies Program (Award Number: 1441149).

Publications & Conferences

Shehab, S., & Mercier, E. (2017). Designing engineering tasks for collaborative problem solving. In B. K. Smith, M. Borge, E. Mercier, & K. Y. Lim (Eds.), Making a Difference—Prioritizing Equity and Access in CSCL: The 12th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Philadelphia: The International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Mercier, E., Ferguson, L., Kessler, M., & Shehab, S. (2016, April) The Emergence of Collaborative Practices during a Month of Engineering Problem Solving Activities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.

Mercier, E., Shehab, S.,Sun, J. & Capell, N. (2015) The development of collaborative practices in introductory engineering courses. To appear in the proceedings of CSCL 2015.

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