ENE 69500-009

Theories of Development and Engineering Thinking

Spring 2014

Instructor: Tamara Moore  [tamara@purdue.edu]

Apprentice Faculty: Brianna Dorie [bdorie@purdue.edu]

Office: ARMS 1339

Office Hours: By appointment

Location: ARMS 1028

Time: Tuesdays, 1:30-4:30

Text: Collected Readings on Blackboard Learn

Highly recommended – How People Learn, Educating Engineers: Designing for the Future of the Field,

Course Description:

This course is a foundational course in STEM education research.  It will delve into the learning theorists and classical research that has shaped the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering education. Students will read original work of the theorists and classical research studies that have shaped current ideas about STEM learning and thinking. The focus of the course will be to develop answers to the questions: (1) What is learning? (2) What is understanding? (3) What is the role of the teacher? (4) What is remembering? (5) How does transfer occur?

Course Goals:           

  • Provide students with the opportunity to become immersed in research and the foundational theorists in engineering education.
  • Provide a forum for graduate students in engineering education and related fields to discuss theory and research, reflect on their history, and to consider future directions.
  • Prepare students for readiness assessments, scholarly writing, and preparation for completing thesis/dissertation.
  • Support students as they consider conducting their own research.

Course Requirements

  1. Attend all classes (if you must miss a class, please let me know and (1) make arrangements with other group members for a summary and review, (2) do additional work for the benefit of the other folks in the class, e.g., summarize an article we don’t have time to read, or attend a seminar of relevance and distribute notes to the class).
  2. Read all assigned materials by the assigned time.
  3. Actively participate in class discussions.
  4. Satisfactorily complete all in-class projects.
  5. Contract for a grade of A or B.
  6. Submit all assignments on time and at the contracted level of quality.
  7. Participate in on-going assessment of class.
  8. Complete and submit a course evaluation.
  9. Follow scholastic conduct policy (See Purdue’s student guide for academic integrity at https://www.purdue.edu/odos/academic-integrity/).

If you have special learning needs, please bring documentation from Disability Services and contact me to make suitable arrangements.


Students in this course will need to have access to Blackboard Learn and university e-mail, as assignments may be turned in electronically.

Evaluation of Student Performance 

High expectations are set for all students in this class. To receive an A in this class you will need to complete all assignments in depth; your work must reflect the high standards expected of master and doctoral students.  If your work does not meet the expected level, you will be given the opportunity to redo your work with my assistance.


Grades will be determined on the basis of learning contracts.  The contracts are based on the following components:

  • Curriculum Vita and Learning Goals and Plan
  • Participation and In-Class Work
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Discussion Facilitator
  • Dissertation Review
  • Article Review
  • Partner Exam Question
  • Final Paper

A specified minimum amount of work is expected of all students.  All assignments are expected to be on time for either learning contract. The alternative learning contracts are:

Grade B:         Meet course requirements (see above) plus

  1. Individual: Post a recent CV to the ENE 695 009 Blackboard Learn site.
  2. Individual: Learning Goals and Plan for ENE 695 009. Prepare a summary of your learning goals (3-5) as well as a tentative plan for achieving them (about one page) and post to the ENE 695 009 Blackboard Learn site.
  3. Partner: Facilitate one in-class discussion.
  4. Group Projects: Complete in-class projects and assignments and submit informal group project reports.
  5. Individual: Read and comment on classmates’ written work at least one time.
  6. Individual: Complete and submit draft and final versions of annotated bibliography.
  7. Individual: Complete and submit the (1) Article Review or (2) Dissertation Review.
  8. Partner: Complete and submit the Partner Exam Question.
  9. Individual: Complete and submit the Final Paper.

Grade A:         Meet Grade B requirements plus

  1. Small Group: Facilitate one more in-class discussion.
  2. Individual: Read and comment on classmate’s written work at least one more time.
  3. Individual: Complete and submit the other assignment that you did not complete for the B level of the following: (1) Article Review or (2) Dissertation Review.

One conventional credit is defined as equivalent to three hours of learning effort per week, averaged over an appropriate time interval, necessary for an average student taking that course to achieve an average grade in that course. It is expected that the academic work required of graduate and professional students will exceed three hours per credit per week or 45 hours per credit per semester.


Readings:  Complete all assigned readings so you can actively participate in each class discussion. As you read, use the following framework to help you guide your understanding and discussion:

(1) What is learning? (2) What is understanding? (3) What is the role of the teacher? (4) What is remembering? (5) How does transfer occur? (6) How does the theory relate to engineering or engineering thinking?

For each theorist in weeks 3-6, you are responsible for finding two research articles based on the theory put forward by each person. If possible, one should be qualitative and one should be quantitative in nature.

Annotated Bibliography: For each article read, write a summary of the article (you may NOT copy the abstract written by the author). 

  • 1 paragraph, single-spaced per article.  Write as a summary paragraph, not bullet points. Each entry should not be more than half a page.
  • Head each summary with the reference (APA 6th).  Bold entire reference. It is your responsibility to make sure your citation is in the correct format.
  • Summarize the main points of the article so that you can read it and remember the article. Include one sentence that captures the most important point(s) of the article. Remainder of paragraph should capture sub-points and other ideas that are important for you as a teacher/learner/guide. 
  • You need to include the article(s) you find related to the theory in your annotated bibliography.
  • If you are reading multiple chapters from 1 book or a whole book, summarize the readings. For this you may have a little more detail than an article (i.e., 2 paragraphs).
  • There is a sample Annotated Bibliography on Blackboard Learn within the Annotated Bibliography assignment folder.

Research Article Review: Read one engineering education research article and write a review. Instructions will be provided on Blackboard Learn.

Dissertation Review:  Read one engineering education (or related area) dissertation and write a review.  Guidelines are on Blackboard Learn.

Discussion facilitator:  With a partner, take over the responsibility for 2 class periods.  Sign-up will be posted after the first week of class.

Sample Readiness Exam question:  Complete the preliminary exam question with a partner.  The problem will be given out two weeks before it is due.  Word process the response; use APA 6th style. 

Final Paper: You will have a short reflection paper regarding 6 of the focus questions of the course. You are to answer these questions for yourself (your beliefs) by tying into the theorists and theories of this course. (1) What is learning? (2) What is understanding? (3) What is the role of the teacher? (4) What is remembering? (5) How does transfer occur? (6) How does your theory of learning relate to engineering or engineering thinking?

We are available to help you on any of the above assignments.

Returning Papers, Exams, and Projects

Projects and assignments will be returned as promptly as possible. All students are encouraged to talk with me about any questions on grades received.

Contacting Tamara Moore

I am fairly easy to contact between class sessions if you persist (and are patient). I travel frequently since I attend several conferences and I consult and work on research projects that require travel. E-mail is the most reliable way to reach me. I read my e-mail regularly during the day and almost every evening, and I will try to reply promptly. If you don’t get a response in a day or two, please send a reminder.  In case there is a crisis, my cell phone number is 651-263-8433.

Attendance and Make-Up policy

Class attendance is required, as is participating in group activities and discussions.  If you miss a class, you are expected to make up the class work missed (your assignments must still be turned in on time). One step on the grading scale (e.g., from an A to an A-) will be deducted from your grade for each class/partial class missed after the first missed class. If you have a good reason for absence, please discuss this with me as soon as you are aware of it. If you are ill, please let me know as soon as possible of your absence. Please do not attend class with a fever. If you feel well enough to participate electronically, let me know and we’ll make arrangements for you to call in or use a web camera option. Electronic attendance (if approved) is not considered an absence.

Participation is expected.  The instructor will approach students not participating fully, and a participation agreement will be made between the student and the instructor. It is expected that you will be in class on time and be ready to begin.

All assignments are expected on time, unless you have made prior contact with the instructors for an extension. Late work may require renegotiation of your learning contract.

Incompletes are highly discouraged but may be granted under extenuating circumstances such as family medical problems or illness. To be granted an incomplete for medical emergencies, one will need to provide written documentation from a medical doctor. Incompletes are only granted in writing and will involve a written agreement with a specified completion date.

Students are expected to be present for every meeting of the classes in which they are enrolled. Only the instructor can excuse a student from a course requirement or responsibility. When conflicts or absences can be anticipated, such as for many University sponsored activities and religious observations, the student should inform the instructor of the situation as far in advance as possible…For unanticipated or emergency absences when advance notification to an instructor is not possible, the student should contact the instructor as soon as possible by email, or by contacting the main office that offers the course. When the student is unable to make direct contact with the instructor and is unable to leave word with the instructor’s department because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, and in cases of bereavement, the student or the student’s representative should contact the Office of the Dean of Students,

Grief Absence Policy for Students

Purdue University recognizes that a time of bereavement is very difficult for a student. The University therefore provides the following rights to students facing the loss of a family member through the Grief Absence Policy for Students (GAPS). GAPS Policy: Students will be excused for funeral leave and given the opportunity to earn equivalent credit and to demonstrate evidence of meeting the learning outcomes for misses, assignments, or assessments in the event of the death of a member of the student’s family.

Academic Dishonesty

Scholastic misconduct is broadly defined as "any act that violates the rights of another student in academic work or that involves misrepresentation of your own work." Scholastic dishonesty includes, (but is not necessarily limited to): cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing, which means misrepresenting as you own work any part of work done by another; submitting the same paper, or substantially similar papers, to meet the requirements of more than one course without the approval and consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another student of necessary course materials; or interfering with another student's work.

Purdue prohibits "dishonesty in connection with any University activity. Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty." [Part 5, Section III-B-2-a, University Regulations] Furthermore, the University Senate has stipulated that "the commitment of acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during examinations) is dishonest and must not be tolerated. Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly, other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest." [University Senate Document 72-18, December 15, 1972]

See Purdue’s student guide for academic integrity at https://www.purdue.edu/odos/academic-integrity/

Use of Copyrighted Materials

Among the materials that may be protected by copyright law are the lectures, notes, and other material presented in class or as part of the course. Always assume the materials presented by an instructor are protected by copyright unless the instructor has stated otherwise. Students enrolled in, and authorized visitors to, Purdue University courses are permitted to take notes, which they may use for individual/group study or for other non-commercial purposes reasonably arising from enrollment in the course or the University generally.

Notes taken in class are, however, generally considered to be “derivative works” of the instructor’s presentations and materials, and they are thus subject to the instructor’s copyright in such presentations and materials. No individual is permitted to sell or otherwise barter notes, either to other students or to any commercial concern, for a course without the express written permission of the course instructor. To obtain permission to sell or barter notes, the individual wishing to sell or barter the notes must be registered in the course or must be an approved visitor to the class. Course instructors may choose to grant or not grant such permission at their own discretion, and may require a review of the notes prior to their being sold or bartered. If they do grant such permission, they may revoke it at any time, if they so choose.

Violent Behavior Policy

Purdue University is committed to providing a safe and secure campus environment for members of the university community. Purdue strives to create an educational environment for students and a work environment for employees that promote educational and career goals. Violent Behavior impedes such goals. Therefore, Violent Behavior is prohibited in or on any University Facility or while participating in any university activity.

Students with Disabilities

Purdue University is required to respond to the needs of the students with disabilities as outlined in both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 through the provision of auxiliary aids and services that allow a student with a disability to fully access and participate in the programs, services, and activities at Purdue University.

If you have a disability that requires special academic accommodation, please make an appointment to speak with me within the first three (3) weeks of the semester in order to discuss any adjustments.  It is important that we talk about this at the beginning of the semester.  It is the student's responsibility to notify the Disability Resource Center (http://www.purdue.edu/drc) of an impairment/condition that may require accommodations and/or classroom modifications. 


In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances beyond the instructor’s control. Relevant changes to this course will be posted onto the course website or can be obtained by contacting the instructors or TAs via email or phone. You are expected to read your @purdue.edu email on a frequent basis.


Purdue University is committed to maintaining a community which recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among its members; and encourages each individual to strive to reach his or her own potential. In pursuit of its goal of academic excellence, the University seeks to develop and nurture diversity. The University believes that diversity among its many members strengthens the institution, stimulates creativity, promotes the exchange of ideas, and enriches campus life.

Purdue University prohibits discrimination against any member of the University community on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran. The University will conduct its programs, services and activities consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and orders and in conformance with the procedures and limitations as set forth in Executive Memorandum No. D-1, which provides specific contractual rights and remedies. Any student who believes they have been discriminated against may visit www.purdue.edu/report-hate to submit a complaint to the Office of Institutional Equity. Information may be reported anonymously.

Purdue Writing Lab

The Purdue Writing Lab offers writing help at Heavilon Hall 226 as well as specific times at satellite locations throughout campus. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

Tentative Schedule

The readings for each week will be posted in Blackboard Learn at least 2 weeks in advance. This schedule and the readings are subject to change.




Assignments Due

Reading Due


January 14

Introduction to Engineering Thinking


Readings Week 1


January 21

Class Cancelled due to Emergency


Readings Week 2


January 28


1) Annotated Bibliography 1

2) Contract, CV, Learning Goals and Plan

Readings Week 3


February 4


Research Article Review

Readings Week 4


February 11



Readings Week 5


February 18



Readings Week 6


February 25


Dissertation Review

Readings Week 7


March 4


Annotated Bibliography 2

Readings Week 8


March 11

Problem Solving and Metacognition


Readings Week 9


March 25

Social theory and Identity theory


Readings Week 10


April 1

Situated Cognition


Readings Week 11


April 8

Models and Modeling

Partner Exam Question

Readings Week 12


April 15

Spatial Reasoning


Readings Week 13


April 22

Flow and Creativity


Readings Week 14


April 29

Adaptive Expertise/Intro to Conceptual Change

Bring your own reading

Annotated Bibliography 3

Readings Week 15



May 6

Finals Week - No Class

Final Paper DUE




Due Week 1:

Sheppard, S., Macatangay, C., Colby, A., & Sullivan, W. (2009). Educating engineers: Designing for the future of the field (Vol. 9). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. CH: 4-7, 9, 12 & 13

Gainsburg, J. (2006). The mathematical modeling of structural engineers. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 8(1), 3-36.

Due Week 3:

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Washington, D. C.: National Academies Press. Chapters 1-5

Due Week 4:

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. London: Collier Books.

Due Week 5:

Piaget, J. (1970). Genetic epistemology. New York: Norton.

Ginsburg, H. P., & Opper, S. (1988). Piaget's theory of intellectual development. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Chapters 1 & 6.

Due Week 6:

Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Technology.

Bruner, J. (1997). Celebrating divergence: Piaget and Vygotsky. Human Development, 40(2).

Chaiklin, S. (2003). The zone of proximal development in Vygotsky’s analysis of learning and instruction. In A Kozulin, B. Gindis, V. S. Ageyev, & S. M. Miller (Eds.), Vygotsky’s educational theory in cultural context (pp. 39-64). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Due Week 7:

Bruner, J. (1961). The process of education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bruner, J. (1966). On cognitive growth. In J. Bruner, R. Olver, & P. Greenfield (Eds.). Studies in cognitive growth: A collaboration at the Center for Cognitive Studies (pp. 1-29). New York: Wiley and Sons.

Bruner, J. (1966).  On cognitive growth II.  In J. Bruner, R. Olver, & P. Greenfield (Eds.). Studies in cognitive growth: A collaboration  at the Center for Cognitive Studies (pp. 30-67).  New York: Wiley and Sons.

Due Week 8:

Dienes, Z. P. (1964). Building up mathematics. (2nd ed.). London: Hutchinson Educational. (Chapters 2 &3)

Novak, J. & Gowin, B. (Eds.) (1984).  Concept mapping for meaningful learning.  Learning how to learn.  (pp. 15-40).  Cambridge University Press.

Johri, A., Roth, W. M., & Olds, B. M. (2013). The role of representations in engineering practices: Taking a turn towards inscriptions. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(1), 2-19.

You will also be assigned one of the following:

Juhl, J., & Lindegaard, H. (2013). Representations and visual synthesis in engineering design. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(1),  20–50.

Tang, K.-S. (2013). Out-of-school media representations of science and technology and their relevance for engineering learning. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(1),  51–76.

Nathan, M. J., Srisurichan, R., Walkington, C., Wolfgram, M., Williams, C., &  Alibali, M. W. (2013). Building cohesion across representations: A mechanism for STEM integration. Journal of Engineering Education, 102: 77–116.

Aurigemma, J., Chandrasekharan, S., Nersessian, N. J., &  Newstetter, W. (2013). Turning experiments into objects: The cognitive processes involved in the design of a lab-on-a-chip device. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(1), 117–140.

Moore, T.J., Miller, R.L., Lesh, R.A., Stohlmann, M.S., & Kim, Y.R. (2013). Modeling in engineering: The role of representational fluency in students’ conceptual understanding. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(1), 141-178.

Diefes-Dux, H. A., Hjalmarson, M. A., & Zawojewski, J. S. (2013). Student team solutions to an open-ended mathematical modeling problem: Gaining insights for educational improvement. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(1),  179–216.

Due Week 9:

Lesh, R., & Zawojewski, J. (2007). Problem solving and modeling. In F. K. Lester Jr. (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning. (pp. 763-804). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive–developmental inquiry. American psychologist, 34(10), 906.

Jonassen, D., Strobel, J., & Lee, C. B. (2006). Everyday problem solving in engineering: Lessons for engineering educators. Journal of engineering education, 95(2), 139-151.

Due Week 10:

Rogoff, B. (1984).  Introduction: Thinking and learning in social context.  In B. Rogoff & J. Lave (Eds.), Everyday cognition: Its development in social context. (pp. 1 - 8).  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. (2002).  Communities of practice and their value to organizations.  Cultivating communities of practice (pp. 1-22).  Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Atwater, M. M. (1996), Social constructivism: Infusion into the multicultural science education research agenda. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33(8), 821–837.

Sfard, A., & Prusak, A. (2005). Telling identities: In search of an analytic tool for investigating learning as a culturally shaped activity. Educational Researcher, 34(4), 14-22.

Due Week 11:

Johri, A., & Olds, B. M. (2011). Situated engineering learning: Bridging engineering education research and the learning sciences. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(1), 151-185.

Lave, J. (1991). Situating learning in communities of practice. In L. B. Resnick, J. M. Levine, & S. D. Teasley (Eds.), Perspectives on socially shared cognition (pp. 63–82). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational researcher, 18(1), 32-42.

Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory.  American Psychologist, 44(9), 1175-1184.

Due Week 12:

Redish, E.F., & Smith, K.A. (2008). Looking beyond content: Skill development for engineers. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(3), 295–307.

Lesh, R., & Doerr, H. M. (2003). Foundations of a models and modeling perspective on mathematics teaching, learning, and problem solving. In R. Lesh & H.M. Doerr (Eds.) Beyond constructivism (pp. 3-33). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Gilbert, J. K. (2004). Models and modelling: Routes to more authentic science education. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 2, 115-130.

Lehrer, R., & Schauble, L. (2003). Origins and evolution of model-based reasoning in mathematics and science. In R. Lesh & H.M. Doerr (Eds.) Beyond constructivism (pp. 59-70). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Due Week 13:

Sorby, S. A. (2009) Educational research in developing 3‐D spatial skills for engineering students. International Journal of Science Education, 31(3), 459-480.

Pruden, S.M., Levine, S.C. an J. Huttenlocher (2011). Children’s spatial thinking: does talk about the spatial world matter? Developmental Science 14(6): 1417-1430.

Battista, M. T. (2007). The development of geometric and spatial thinking. In F. K. Lester Jr. (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning. (pp. 843-908). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Due Week 14:

Shah, J. J., Smith, S. M., & Vargas-Hernandez, N. (2003). Metrics for measuring ideation effectiveness. Design studies, 24(2), 111-134.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper &Row. (Chapters 1, 2, & 7)

Torrance, E. P. (1977). Creativity in the classroom: What research says to the teacher. Washington, DC: National Education Association.

Amibile, T. M. (1996). Creativity and innovation in organizations. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Due Week 15:

McKenna, A. F. (2007). An investigation of adaptive expertise and transfer of design process knowledge. Journal of Mechanical Design, 129, 730-734.

Hatano, G., & Inagaki, K. (1986). Two courses of expertise. Research and Clinical Center for Child Development Annual Report, 6, 27-36.

Streveler, R. A., Litzinger, T. A., Miller, R. L., & Steif, P. S. (2008). Learning conceptual knowledge in the engineering sciences: Overview and future research directions. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(3), 279-294.


Bring your own reading. More information to be provided later.