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The Effects of STOMP on Students’ Attitudes and Understandings Toward the Engineering Design Process


Adam Carberry
Doctoral Student in Engineering Education

STOMP Overview:
The Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP) is an engineering educational outreach program, which places undergraduate engineers into K-12 classrooms and after school programs. The STOMP program has two main goals. The first goal is to support K-12 educational settings in the implementation of engineering activities and curricula in order to foster technological literacy. The second goal of the program is to provide undergraduate engineering students with an opportunity to engage in citizenship and public service through educational support. Since the inception of the program, coordinators and participants alike have hypothesized that being engaged in supporting K-12 engineering education impacts engineering students’ attitudes, knowledge, and communication skills. Previous research which focused on the STOMP engineering students using qualitative interviews, showed that involvement in such a program leads to the development of citizenship and communication skills.

Research Goals:
The goal of my dissertation work is to analyze the effects of participation in the Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program; specifically looking at the possibility that participation in such a program helps to develop a deeper understanding of the engineering design process. The project will also look at how participation effects citizenship, attitudes, confidence, and communication skills. Much has been said of how beneficial the presence of subject-matter content knowledge expert volunteers in the classroom are for both students and teachers alike, but what exactly are the volunteers, in this case STOMP fellows, gaining. The study will investigate whether or not such an experience is beneficial for the STOMP fellows by looking at their overall change in understanding of the engineering design process, their attitudes, and their confidence before and after their experience. The hope is that this research will generate information that institutions of higher education can use to better understand how outreach of this nature impacts students engaged in outreach.

Methodology:
- compose a test group of STOMP fellows from Tufts University, Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Hawaii and Rochester Institute of Technology
- compose a control group of engineering students "equivalent" to the STOMP fellows minus the outreach component
- assess both test and control initial understandings of the engineering design process using an open-ended knowledge assessment
- educate the STOMP fellows about the engineering design process, K-12 education standards and teaching skills
- allow the STOMP fellows to design classroom activities/curriculum and teach this content to students younger than they are in conjunction with a K-12 teacher
- observe both test and control groups in their particular situated environment
- test both groups knowledge again using a post-knowledge assessment; determine changes that have occurred
- retrospectively survey the groups to determine their changes or lack there of in attitude, confidence and understanding of the engineering design process
- interview students from both groups as supportive evidence
- compare coursework grades
- compare STOMP fellows with the control group

Results:
Preliminary data to be presented at the 2007 ASEE Conference shows that participation does have an effect on STOMP fellows understandings of the engineering design process. Further research must be conducted to improve upon the assessment tools used in the pilot study.

Related Literature:
Carberry, A., Portsmore, M., & Rogers, C. (2007). The Effects of STOMP on Students' Attitudes and Understandings Toward the Engineering Design Process, Proceedings of the 2007 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, June 24-27, Honolulu, HI.

Cejka, E., Pickering, M., Conroy, K., Moretti, L., & Portsmore, M. (2005). What do college engineering students learn in K-12 classrooms?: Understanding the development of citizenship & communication skills, Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, June 12-15, Portland, OR..

Gravel, B. E., Cunningham, C. M., Knight, M. T., & Faux, R. (2005). Learning through Teaching: A Longitudinal Study on the Effects of GK-1 Programs on Teaching Fellows, Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education annual Conference & Exposition.

Portsmore, M., Rogers, C., & Pickering, M. (2003). STOMP: Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program, Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education annual Conference & Exposition, June 22-25, Nashville, TN.

Smith, K.A., Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.W., and Sheppard, S.D. (2005). Pedagogies of Engagement: Classroom-Based Practices, Journal of
Engineering Education, 94 (1), 87–101.

Links: Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP) ; STOMP Network