Collaboration within Engineering Education Research’s Community of Practice

Engineering education research (EER) is a relatively young field of inquiry, established with the
intent to improve the academic experiences of young and emerging engineers. While many
researchers’ perceptions of how to improve engineering education stem from traditional
classroom experiences, a select group of researchers belong to EER-oriented departments, labs,
and research centers. These on-campus resources create a formal bridge between EER-expert
networks and offer researchers an opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded individuals.
However, researchers lacking access to similar EER resources may be unable to establish
connections to engineering education’s expert community of practice.

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question “How is collaboration within the EER
community of practice impacted by an individual’s access to EER resources?” Formal
collaborations were catalogued using co-authorship data from publications in the Journal of
Engineering Education between the years 2008 to 2012. Influential researchers, collaboration
trends, critical brokers, and other hidden structures were analyzed using social network analysis
methods. Results of this study found that researchers on campuses lacking formal EER resources
are unable to broker connections into EER’s expert community of practice. Consequently, these
researchers may be unable to adopt best practices from and exchange relevant information with
the greater community.

Author(s): Scottie-Beth Fleming
Organization(s): Georgia Institute of Technology
Source: 121st American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference and Exhibition
Year: 2014

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