Chirag Variawa

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Director, First-year Curriculum, Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering

Title: Supporting the First Year Engineering Education Research (FYEER) Community

Research Focus: The goal is to create a community such that students (undergraduate and graduate) can contribute to the identification, understanding, and mitigation of learning barriers in First-year Engineering. The specific research questions are:

  • What are the research questions that the undergraduate and graduate students focused on, and how have they moved towards answering those questions?
  • How have the student perceptions of engineering education developed over the course of their research practice?
  • What specific outcomes did the students find, and how might these outcomes affect first-year engineering education?

Study Design: A group of undergraduate and graduate students were recruited for this research project. The following students participated in this study:

  • 2 final-year undergraduate engineering students (thesis project)
  • 4 second-year female undergraduate engineering students (work-study program)
  • 2 final-year M.Eng students (independent thesis projects)
  • 1 Ph.D. candidate pursuing an Engineering Education collaborative specialization (OISE/FASE)
  • 1 M.Eng and 1 B.A.Sc. undergraduate engineering student extending previously-researched M.Eng thesis work

All of these students have produced and are currently in the process of performing their research. I meet with them regularly to coach them on their independent assignments; we will be meeting in late March to discuss the outcomes of the research questions outlined above.

Impact: We hope the impact of this work is to build and maintain a body of student-driven engineering education projects that bring together various interests. The impact includes publications to the Canadian Engineering Education Association annual conference (undergraduate and M.Eng students) as well as a journal publication by the Ph.D. candidate.

SoTL Cohort Poster presented at the 2019 Teaching and Learning Symposium