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Matthew W Ohland
Professor / Engineering Education
 
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Primary Research Projects

Longitudinal Study of Engineering Student Development

Dr. Ohland leads a team of researchers conducts engineering education research
using a database of student records from 12 universities during 1988-2011.
With such a large population to study, their findings are in many ways representative
of what happens to engineering students in the country. The Multiple-Institution Database
for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD) project supports the study
various types of research questions:

Access: Are students of low socioeconomic status less represented in college now than in the past?
Admissions: How can we identify students who are likely to be successful in engineering?
Advising: How do we recognize the point at which a student is unlikely to succeed in engineering?
Curriculum reform: Which courses are the biggest bottlenecks in the path to a degree?
Equity: What conditions are most supportive of women and underrepresented minorities?
Policy: How do merit-based scholarships affect the academic decisions students?

Research on this project also includes planning and conducting qualitative studies to better understand
the results from the database. Support for research using the MIDFIELD database has included:

- $1.4 million from NSF to design, validate, and begin to study the database, (completed)
- $200,000 from NSF to develop a process to add new partners, (completed)
- $500,000 from NSF to explore how climate and pedagogy affect the persistence of women, (completed)
- $150,000 from NSF to describe academic policies and their influence on student decisions and outcomes, (completed)
- $45,000 from Sloan to examine the effect of economic conditions on participation in cooperative education, (completed)
- $400,000 from NSF to explain engineering student migration in terms of social influence and career motivations,
- $300,000 from NSF to understand socioeconomic factors in engineering pathways,
- $400,000 from NSF to compare the student pathways and outcomes for different matriculation practices,
- $1.5 million from NSF to characterize and model the pathways of transfer students,
- $230,000 from NSF to explore the demographics of students who enroll in and succeed in various majors.

For more information, on the MIDFIELD project, visit the project website.

Using Peer Evaluations to Study Team-Member Effectiveness

A team of researchers led by Dr. Ohland is developing a system to improve the way teams are managed,
assessed, researched, trained, educated, and remediated. Evaluating teamwork is critical both to the
improvement of teamwork skills and to the use of improved teaching methods. In earlier work, Dr. Ohland's
research team developed software supporting criteria-based team formation and peer evaluation.

Support for Dr. Ohland's peer evaluation research was originally provided by a $644,000 NSF grant.
A $2 million award supports the development of a comprehensive teamwork training system for faculty
and students. For more information on the project, visit the project website.

A complete list of NSF projects on which Dr. Ohland has been the Principal Investigator or a
Co-Principal Investigator, please see the NSF website.

For amusement, please see:

 
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