Engineering collaboration via electronic media : how to promote reflective thinking skills and visualize data with technology
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Online discussion forums and reflective writing are proven methods for enriching conceptual understanding and are hallmarks of engineering education. Plagiarism and many students’ apprehension to contribute to online journals can plague the effectiveness of these educational tools. Using elements of the engineering design cycle, I have created a blogging website that addresses these problems by restricting comment visibilities for users and includes a graphic visualization called a “word cloud” to supplement discussion. A prototype was tested with UTeach Engineering teachers for feedback on design and use. The critiques provided examples of classroom use, constructive design feedback, and ideas for its use as a formative assessment. The design could be used as a pedagogical tool for an investigation of formative assessments in engineering education, but further research for “word cloud” visualizations and journal data collection is needed to expand the current design.