Using Portfolios to Promote Knowledge Integration in Engineering Education

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The goal of this research project is to explore the educational potential of having engineering students construct different types of professional portfolios. The research questions guiding the work have to do with the educational significance of constructing professional portfolios (learning outcomes such as professional preparedness and knowledge integration), the various challenges students encounter when building the portfolios, and the insights about students that are revealed through their portfolios.

The work is organized around studies in which engineering students develop two distinct types of portfolios: cross-curricular professional portfolios (CCP) and course-based professional portfolios (CBP). These types of portfolios share a common focus on students making an argument about their preparedness for professional practice. They differ in terms of scope of artifacts included (across the curriculum vs. from a specific course) and in terms of the scope of activities (cross-curricular portfolios are constructed over a longer period than the course-based portfolios).

Setting: 

This work has been carried out at a large public research extensive university in the US. The population of interest is undergraduate engineering students.

Research Design: 

This research project is cross-sectional and comparative and is designed to generate descriptive [case study, design research, ethnographic, observational] evidence. Original data are collected through assessments of learning or achievement tests; observation [personal]; and survey research [on-line, structured, semi-structured]. The primary analyses in this work have involved analyzing transcripts of interviews with students who have constructed professional portfolios in order to make claims about how they experienced the construction of the portfolio, and more importantly, the extent to which and ways in which their experience was a learning experience and what they learned through the experience.

Additional analyses have explored how the students constructed their arguments in their portfolios and what their experiences reveal about how engineering student construct their professional identity.

Findings: 

Please see the project publications listed below.

Publications & Presentations: 

TURNS, J. AND RAMEY, J. (2003). “USING PORTFOLIOS TO HELP STUDENTS NAVIGATE ACROSS BORDERS,” PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE FOR THE COUNCIL OF PROGRAMS IN SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION (CPTSC), POTSDAM, NY, OCTOBER 2003. (P)

LAPPENBUSCH, S. & TURNS, J. (2005). FINDING THEIR PLACE IN TC: USING A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE MODEL TO RESEARCH EMERGING TC PROFESSIONALS. TO APPEAR IN THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE IEEE CONFERENCE ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, LIMERICK, IRELAND. JULY 10-13, 2005.

TURNS, J., ELIOT, M., LAPPENBUSCH, S., NEAL, R., ALLEN, K., YELLIN, J.M.H., GETAHUN, B., GUAN, Z., AND HUANG-COTRILLE, Y. (2005). HOW CAN USER-CENTERED DESIGN HELP US THINK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION? , TO APPEAR IN THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION CONFERENCE, PORTLAND, OR. JUNE, 2005.

GUAN, Z., YELLIN, J.M.H., TURNS, J., AND KUMAR, V. (2005). USER-CENTERED DESIGN OF COURSE-BASED PORTFOLIOS FOR MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT LEARNING, PROCEEDINGS OF IMECE2005: THE 2005 ASME INTERNATIONAL MECHANICAL ENGINEERING CONGRESS AND EXPOSITION, ORLANDO, FL, NOVEMBER.

TURNS, J., S. LAPPENBUSCH, AND K. ALLEN (IN PROCESS). PROFESSIONAL PREPAREDNESS AND PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIOS, CELT TECHNICAL REPORT 06-03, CENTER FOR ENGINEERING LEARNING AND TEACHING, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE.

GUAN, Z., S. LAPPENBUSCH, AND J. TURNS (IN PROCESS). LEARNING THROUGH CONSTRUCTION OF COURSE-BASED PORTFOLIOS: FOUR CASE STUDIES, CELT TECHNICAL REPORT 06-04, CENTER FOR ENGINEERING LEARNING AND TEACHING, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE.

TURNS, J., AND S. LAPPENBUSCH, J. YELLIN, Y. HUANG, AND Z. GUAN (IN PROCESS). LEARNING THROUGH CONSTRUCTION OF PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIOS: A THEORY, CELT TECHNICAL REPORT 06-05, CENTER FOR ENGINEERING LEARNING AND TEACHING, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE.

TURNS, J. (2006). LEARNING PEDAGOGIES OF INTEGRATION AND PORTFOLIO CONSTRUCTION, CELT TECHNICAL REPORT 06-06. CENTER FOR ENGINEERING LEARNING AND TEACHING, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE.

TURNS, J. AND LAPPENBUSCH, S. (2006). TRACING STUDENT DEVELOPMENT DURING CONSTRUCTION OF ENGINEERING PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIOS, TO APPEAR IN PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION CONFERENCE, CHICAGO, IL, JUNE.

GUAN, Z., LAPPENBUSCH, S., TURNS, J., AND YELLIN, J. (2006). PORTFOLIOS IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION: WHAT DO THEY PROMISE AND HOW CAN THEY BE USED? TO APPEAR IN PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION CONFERENCE, CHICAGO, IL, JUNE.

LAPPENBUSCH, S. AND TURNS, J. (2007). WHAT PORTFOLIO CONSTRUCTION EFFORTS REVEAL ABOUT STUDENTS’ SEARCH FOR ENGINEERING IDENTITY, PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION CONFERENCE, HONOLULU, HI, JUNE.

GUAN, Z. AND TURNS, J. (2007). SAME INTERVENTION, DIFFERENT EFFECT: A COMPARISON OF THE IMPACT OF PORTFOLIO CREATION ON STUDENTS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION CONFERENCE, HONOLULU, HI, JUNE.

TURNS, J., XU, K., AND ELIOT, M. (2008). EFFECTIVENESS AND PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIOS: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF STUDENTS’ PORTFOLIO ANNOTATIONS, PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION CONFERENCE, PITTSBURGH, PA, JUNE.

TURNS, J., GUAN, Z., AND YELLIN, J. (2008). LINKING REFLECTION AND PROFESSIONAL PREPAREDNESS: THE COURSE-BASED PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO, PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 2008 RESEARCH IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM TO TAKE PLACE IN DAVOS, SWITZERLAND IN JULY.

ELIOT, M., TURNS, J., AND XU, K. (2008). ENGINEERING STUDENTS’ EXTRINSIC AND INTRINSIC STRATEGIES FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY, PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 2008 RESEARCH IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM TO TAKE PLACE IN DAVOS, SWITZERLAND IN JULY.

ELIOT, M. AND TURNS, J. (SUBMITTED). CONSTRUCTING PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIOS: SENSE-MAKING AND PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT FOR ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATES. SUBMITTED TO THE JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION.

DUNSMORE, K. AND TURNS, J. (IN PROGRESS). RECONCILING THE IDEAL AND THE REAL: STUDENT CONCEPTIONS OF THE WORLDS OF SCHOOL AND WORK.

TURNS, J. AND GUAN, Z. (IN PROGRESS). PORTFOLIO CONSTRUCTION AS A LEARNING EVENT: LESSONS FROM 13 ENGINEERING STUDENTS.

Other Products: 

This research project expects to generate curricular materials to help engineering educators incorporate professional portfolios in their classes and in departments’ curricula.