Creating Visualizations: Data Viz to Improve Learning/Identity in E4

We are currently in the process of evaluating instructional approaches, content, and student experiences and outcomes in E4. Consistent with this work, we have recently developed a mixed-methods, instrument suite to (1) assess students implementation of design activities within authentic design projects, (2) evaluate final deliverable quality, (3) survey students’ engineering design abilities, and (4) record students’ evolving engineering identity and sense of belonging in the engineering community. This work applies action research in a shared effort to transform student learning in this course. The overarching learning outcome in E4 is to implement and practice a design process to identify, frame, and solve open-ended and ill-structured engineering problems. This outcome emphasizes the inherent complexity, ambiguity, and nonlinearity of the design process. Historical observations and a wide body of literature indicate that students proceed through the design process in a linear fashion and don’t spend enough time implementing design activities to advance their work and learning.

To address this mismatch, we are deploying a prototype for quantifying students’ engagement with design activities. We aim to support students in a process of reflection on their path through the design process while considering their design activities, team dynamics, and identity as engineers and designers. To this end, we seek to create a compelling and dynamic visualization of student design process data (collected from the design diary) and a live dashboard through which students can, at any time, view their own activities and those of their team. A future goal is to apply this dashboard and these tools beyond E4 and across the engineering curriculum to improve instruction across our program. This work is done in service to equipping engineering graduates with expertise, fluency, and with the capacity to lead teams in engineering and design.

Check out some recent work:

Name of research group, project, or lab
Santana Lab
Why join this research group or lab?

As a member of this group, you would work on projects that seek to create data upon which students and instructors can reflect and respond. For students, this has the potential to enhance engineering knowledge, abilities, identity, and belonging. For students and instructors, this data has potential to elucidate areas of inequity and challenges the community to respond through actions and mindsets.

Logistics Information:
Project categories
Computer Science
Teaching & Learning
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

Students with an interest in or experience with Javascript, R, and/or Matlab as well as developing interactive web applications are especially encouraged to apply. Students with knowledge with an interest in educational research toward improving learning and practice are likely to find this work particularly compelling.

Time commitment
Fall - Part Time
Spring - Part Time
Academic Credit
Number of openings
Techniques learned

Data visualization, designing web applications, data analysis

Contact Information:
Mentor name
Mentor email
Mentor position
Name of project director or principal investigator
Steven Santana
Email address of project director or principal investigator
2 sp. | 5 appl.
Hours per week
Fall - Part Time (+1)
Fall - Part TimeSpring - Part Time
Project categories
Engineering (+3)
Computer ScienceEngineeringMathematicsTeaching & Learning