Dr. Reed Stevens is an associate professor of the Learning Sciences in College of Education at the University of Washington. He specializes in ethnographic and comparative approaches to studying how people learn, especially in STEM disciplines, both in and out of school contexts. He is currently co-leading two NSF Centers working on issues related to how people learn, the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments Center (LIFE) and the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE).
Becoming an Engineer: Toward a Three Dimensional View of Engineering Learning
Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
2008 American Society for Engineering Education
Journal of Engineering Education
Volume 97, Issue 3, pages 355–368, July 2008
How to Cite
Stevens, R., O'Connor, K., Garrison, L., Jocuns, A. and Amos, D. M. (2008), Becoming an Engineer: Toward a Three Dimensional View of Engineering Learning. Journal of Engineering Education, 97: 355–368. doi: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.2008.tb00984.x
- Issue published online: 2 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
- student experience
In this paper we develop an analytical framework we refer to as “Becoming an Engineer” that focuses upon changes occurring over time as students traverse their undergraduate educations in engineering. This analytical framework involves three related dimensions that we track over time: disciplinary knowledge, identification, and navigation. Our analysis illustrates how these three dimensions enable us to understand how students become, or do not become, engineers by examining how these three interrelated dimensions unfold over time. This study is based on longitudinal ethnographic data from which we have developed “person-centered ethnographies” focused on individual students' pathways through engineering. We present comparative analysis, spanning four schools and four years. We also present person-centered ethnographic case studies that illustrate how our conceptual dimensions interrelate. Our discussion draws some educational implications from our analysis and proposes further lines of research.