T7-AD2-1 - Special Session: Emotions in engineering education – A roadmap to possibilities in research and practice

Panels / Special Sessions
James Huff1 , Johanna Lönngren2, Tom Adawi3, Nadia Kellam4, Idalis Villanueva5
1 Harding University
2 Umeå University
3 Chalmers University of Technology
4 Arizona State University
5 University of Florida

Description of the special session: Emotions are ubiquitous in social and learning processes in engineering education. For example, they might bolster or inhibit the cognitive engagement of a student who is learning to perform nodal analysis in a circuits course. Emotions are also at the center of an interaction where a student might feel marginalized in a project team, motivating the behaviors of both the student who is marginalized and the students who are marginalizing. More generally, although emotional constructs undergird many focal points of engineering education research (e.g., identity, marginalization, conceptual change), they are rarely examined as the central focus of investigations.

In the proposed special session, we will guide participants through research opportunities that lie at the intersection of engineering formation and emotional experience. Although the special session will primarily be designed for an audience of education researchers with emerging or established interests in pursuing research on emotions, we will ensure that the workshop is also inclusive of scholarly educators who are interested in how emotions shape the learning environments of their contexts.

This special session is informed by ongoing work that aims to develop a research agenda for emotions in engineering education. During the session, participants will engage with and extend this ongoing work. In terms of concrete outcomes, participants will be able to develop their own research or scholarly practice questions with feedback given by the facilitators. Finally, participants will be able to find community and potential collaborators among researchers and practitioners with allied interests in emotions within engineering domains.

Justification for the novelty of special session: The proposed special session builds on the generative outcomes a well-attended workshop that was conducted at the 2019 ASEE conference and a 2020 international symposium on emotions in the engineering education research. While the focus of these prior meetings served to organize a widespread interest in developing structured research agendas related to emotions, the special session will serve to leverage the outcomes of these prior workshops in order to support both engineering education researchers and scholarly educators in articulating how they could contribute to further research on emotions in engineering contexts.

Format of the special session: The special session will be highly interactive but also provide participants the opportunity to learn new content. As detailed in the itinerary, the first twenty minutes of the special session will begin by facilitators providing brief overviews of their perspectives on emotions in engineering as informed by their active investigations. These presentations will lead the way into semi-structured activities that enable participants to contribute to discussion related to a variety of relevant topics related to emotions in engineering contexts.

Special session itinerary: The following schedule reflects the itinerary for the 80-minute special session:

0 – 5 min: Welcome and brief overview of the session’s purpose and itinerary. Introductions of facilitators and participants.

5 – 15 min: Overview of emotions research in engineering education, drawing on frameworks generated from previous workshops.

15 – 30 min: Interactive panel with facilitators. The following perspectives will be represented:
1) Emotion as related to identity: Perspectives from a study on shame in engineering (Dr. James Huff)
2) Emotion as related to sustainability education: Perspectives from a study on how emotions are expressed in discussions about wicked problems (Dr. Johanna Löngren)
3) Emotion as related to professional formation: Perspectives from a study on empathy in engineering (Dr. Nicola Sochacka and Dr. Joachim Walther)

30 – 40 min: Concept-mapping activity. Participants will work in roundtables to map the space of what draws participants explore emotions in engineering education and practice (e.g., What perspectives do participants bring into the research space? What are the topics of emotions research that they want to pursue in their own research or practice?). Facilitators will be scattered across various tables in the room to support the activity.

40 – 50 min: Report out from various groups

50 – 70 min: Each group of participants prototypes the beginning stages of research or education plans related to emotional phenomena in engineering education. Groups will be guided by facilitators on thinking between the alignment of relevant theories, methods, and practice-oriented contexts.

70 –80 min: Concluding remarks from facilitators. Discussion of opportunities for formulating projects and publications.

Expected outcomes of the special session. As a minimal outcome, participants of the special session will gain an understanding of how existing research in engineering education is organized and also identify opportunities for further exploration of emotions in research and educational practice. Based on the outcomes of prior workshops, we anticipate that the special session will provide a needed space to catalyze collaborations and partnerships that will support investigations and scholarly interventions that are related to emotional phenomena in engineering education domains.