The instructional development program of the University of Washington provides a rich context for learning about the challenges that faculty face in efforts to enhance their teaching, and how to help faculty face these challenges. This project will:
1. Document the unique instruction-related concerns/questions of engineering faculty and the types of responses that fulfill these concerns. 2. Document the complexities associated with designing and executing instructional development services in the context of engineering. 3. Document cultural factors important for engineering instructional development. 4. Share this information with others interested in supporting faculty efforts to enhance/modify their teaching (including campus level instructional developers, workshop designers, national reform groups, and even faculty themselves).
We propose to take advantage of these opportunities through a combination of research and website development activities. Specifically, we propose to conduct research on successful instructional development efforts through a combination of debriefing interviews and case study observations. The results of this study will be available to engineering educators and other programs through an innovative user-centered website - the Engineering Teaching Source. The content of the website will be derived from the insights gained from the debriefing interviews and case study observations. The design of the website will emphasize multiple paths by which faculty / instructional developers can find information.
Our proposed research will provide insight into the needs of faculty as they change their teaching practices and provides the engineering education community with this insight through the design and publication of the Engineering Teaching Source. This work will benefit all who are interested in helping engineering faculty address teaching challenges, including instructional developers in campus-wide centers, those who create workshops for engineering faculty, those funding and running systematic reform efforts, and faculty themselves. This work will complement the spectrum of efforts to enhance the teaching of engineering by focusing on the people most pivotal to the teaching - the faculty themselves.