Category: STEM Education

ACSHF Forum: Kelly Steelman, CLS chair

Kelly Steelman, chair of the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will kick off the academic year forums for Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors with her presentation, “Science Policy in Human Factors: A Primer on the Development and Application of the Human Readiness Level Scale”, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (September 19) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

As a Science Policy Fellow for the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), Steelman will talk about the work of the Science Policy group over the past several years, focusing on the development of the Human Readiness Level (HRL) Scale—a simple 9-level scale for evaluating, tracking,and communicating the readiness of a technology for safe and effective human use.

Complete abstract:
In 2019, Dr. Kelly Steelman was selected as a Science Policy Fellow for the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. In this presentation, Steelman will talk about the work of the Science Policy group over the past several years, focusing on the development of the Human Readiness Level (HRL) Scale—a simple 9-level scale for evaluating, tracking, and communicating the readiness of a technology for safe and effective human use. It is modeled after the well-established Technology Readiness Level (TRL) framework that is used throughout the government and industry to communicate the maturity of a technology and to support decision making about technology acquisition. The HRL scale is defined in the ANSI/HFES 400-2021 Standard and is currently being socialized throughout the government, Department of Defense,  and industry.
Dr. Steelman will discuss the promise of the HRL Scale and associated standard as tools for increasing awareness of the field of human factors and for establishing requirements for human-systems evaluation—and the involvement of human-systems experts—throughout the development lifecycle.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

On Tuesday, April 19, the PSY 3001 Research Methods class hosted a poster session presenting the research they completed during the last semester as part of the course. The course instructor and research advisor for these undergraduate students is CLS associate professor Dr. Shane Mueller.

There were seven posters from 15 students in the symposium with faculty staff and students attending the event.
The abstracts for each poster is listed below the photo gallery.

Peer Evaluation Study of a Women’s Reproductive Health Course: A Synthesis of a Qualitative Study of Medical Professionals.  
Erin Brooks
The education of young women has transitioned from health and sex education to what it implies to “get your period” and how to actively avoid pregnancy (Schmitt et al., 2021). Young women have the right to be taught the basics of their reproductive system and the skills to identify and understand their own health. In an effort to combat this lack of knowledge, studies have researched the knowledge of fertility awareness in individuals and where they received their education (Chowlowska et al., 2020; Armour et al., 2021). The goal of this two part study is to identify a gap in the knowledge of young women about their reproductive health and to design a course that would educate women about the information that was not taught to them. The study was of a two part design: the first was semi-structured interviews with women’s health professionals, and,the second part was a peer evaluation of a course that addressed this gap. The results of the first study came to a conclusive identification of an educational gap on the natural signs and patterns of a woman’s cycle, including misconceptions women have held about their own bodies. The peer evaluations also held a high rate of correlation in the direction that the knowledge presented in the short course was beneficial to them as individuals. These studies helped to bring to light the knowledge gap there is in the education of young women today and where there is room for growth, providing the basis for courses for future classes.

Failure to Replicate: The Influence of Post-Event Information on Situation Recall.
Kaitlyn Baccus, Gabby Bosley and Makenna Nuttall
The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of post-event information on situational recall. We hypothesized  that when given leading post-event information after viewing a dashcam video, participants will be less likely to accurately describe and remember the event than those who are not given leading post-information. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two Google surveys with questions to assess their knowledge of a dashcam video of a car accident they watched. Questions about the accident included filler questions and one key question about car speed. The results of the data did not support our hypothesis and showed that the non-leading group reported a higher average speed than the leading group. These results encouraged us to conduct a second study, this time a within-subjects study. Four surveys were created using older car accident videos and an attention-check video of a mountain bike accident. These videos were counterbalanced with leading and non-leading questions regarding the event that occurred in the videos. The key questions were again related to the car’s speeds. The results of this study showed that there was not a significant effect of verbiage on vehicle speed estimates between the conditions.

Comparing the Perceived Effectiveness and Difficulty of Memorization Strategies in Different Age Groups.
Trenton Laramore, Abby Morley, and Samantha Walker 
Previous studies on the use of mnemonics as a study technique have found that deeper analysis and longer processing time of material will enhance memory performance (Craik & Lockhart, 1972). However, there has not been much research on the comparison of mnemonic strategies. It is hypothesized that the Story Strategy (SS) would be more effective in free recall compared to the First Letter Strategy (FLS). An online randomized questionnaire assigned participants into four groups that watched two videos testing both strategies. After recall, participants were asked to assess difficulty and effectiveness. Results show that participants recalled more words using the SS compared to the FLS and thought the SS was more effective and difficult overall. These results suggest that deeper levels of processing are linked to better performance. This study leads to further research in our second study about how age impacts perceived difficulty and strategy performance. Participants were randomly assigned into two groups and watched four videos where both strategies were tested. Participants were then instructed to recall words utilizing the strategy they were given. After recall, participants were asked to subjectively assess effectiveness, difficulty, and usefulness.  Results show that FLS was considered more difficult, while SS was considered more effective, but memory performance was not impacted by age for either strategy.  Results suggest that use of memory strategies may successfully counteract organic mild effects of memory loss as we age.

Sexual Education Comprehensiveness As It relates to Comfort and Suggested Material for Grades 6-8.  
Keighley Blindauer, Cat Madish, and Katie Ulinski  
The teaching of sexual education is currently under scrutiny by many and the value of teaching the topic is under question. Previous research has shown that students retain knowledge better when the class is comprehensive and inclusive as well as that students want that kind of instruction (Narushima et al., 2020). It is therefore the goal of study one was to discover if there is a correlation between comprehensiveness of past sexual education and comfort level when discussing sexual topics. The data showed that there was not a correlation between comprehensiveness and comfort level (Perarson’s correlation, p=0.886, p > 0.05). Despite this finding, it is the goal of the second study to suggest a new course in sexual education that is more inclusive and comprehenesive than pervious standards. To do this, current standards were compared and a new syllabus was suggested. A specific lesson plan was also suggested. Based on the first study and suggested materials, the teaching of sexual education is a constantly shifting field that needs to respond to what students learn best to.

The Perception of Self-Esteem Levels and its Effect on Mental Disorders.
– Jayden Middlecamp and Caity Weirick 
Self-esteem and mental illnesses are two things that often go together, and the presence of mental illnesses can create low self-esteem over time through feelings of anxiety, depression, and many other common mental health conditions. There is often a stigma surrounding mental illnesses in the United States that everyone who suffers from them will have low self-esteem, and those who have higher self-esteem are not as prone to developing or suffering from mental illnesses. Previous research has investigated these stigmas of mental health, as well as addressed the ways in which mental illnesses impact self-esteem. However, our interest lies in investigating whether or not levels of self-esteem (low or high) will impact someone’s perception of that individual’s mental state. Two surveys were created in order to assess this and included four different scenarios with common, easily-identifiable mental disorders. Each scenario was accompanied by statements from the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale in order to imply low or high self-esteem without directly stating it. This allowed participants to get an impression of the person in each scenario. Following up, they were asked if they believed their self-esteem impacted their mental disorder. Results of this study were computed in a paired-samples t-test, giving a result of 0.008. Since the p value is less than 0.05, the null hypothesis is rejected and the results are statistically significant, showing that participants were more likely to say that high self-esteem impacted mental disorders compared to those with low self-esteem.

Change Blindness: Recognizing Facial Change and Comparing Confidence.
Alyssa Everett & Kallie Weecks 
Past research has shown that small changes often go undetected, which introduced a phenomenon known as “change blindness.” Research has also been done to show that the brain has a specific area called the Fusiform Face Area for recognizing facial features. However, little research has addressed which parts of the face changes often go unnoticed or how confidence affects detection. Utilizing the flicker paradigm, videos were developed to test if relevant changes were more easily noticed in faces and less susceptible to change blindness. The results from Study 1 showed that there was a significant difference between big and small changes, but irrelevant and relevant changes were not statistically different. This shows that the materials used in this study were well made to have big and small changes indicating that these videos could be used for further research. Study 2 used the materials from Study 1 to compare confidence to the ability to detect changes. This was done by showing a short clip of a video and asking participants to rate their confidence in identifying a change in the longer video. This found that there was a statistically significant correlation between the confidence and the accuracy of detection. This implies there may be the ability to detect a change before identifying what the change is.

Identity Formation Among Undergraduate Engineering Students at Michigan Technological University.
Emily Grant 
Sixty percent of Michigan Technological University (MTU) students are enrolled in an engineering program. Identity within one’s career has been a researched topic for many years and it shows that there is a high correlation between one’s success in their career and how much one identifies with their career choice. Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) theorizes that an individual’s interests, choices, achievement, and satisfaction all interact with each other (Lent et al., 1994). To test and further understand this research two studies were conducted involving engineering students at MTU. These studies’ main goal was to understand and conceptualize how much identifying as an engineer can impact one’s success throughout their time at MTU as well as their success after graduating when thrust into the professional engineering world. Throughout this research, I take a look into the opinions and feelings of MTU engineering students to discover what it is that led them to pursue a degree in engineering. Using the Critical Decision Method (CDM) interview process involving 6 participants which preceded a survey/questionnaire that expands the sample size to 94 engineering students, I’ve Developed a qualitative model of students perceive themselves as engineers, whether any role models led them to this point, and finally, a sense of how MTU either supports or neglects the needs for engineering students to succeed and create a strong identity with their chosen field of engineering.

To learn about the latest in our undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research – follow us on Instagram and Facebook @clsmtu!

ACSHF Forum: Grad Student Presentations

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host ACSHF PhD Students Tauseef Ibne Mamun and Brittany Nelson at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. Their presentations will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (April 18) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Tauseef Ibne Mamun
Connected Vehicle Field Study: Outcomes and Challenges
Abstract: Poor driver decision-making continues to be a challenge at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings (HRGC). One way to improve safety has been to introduce a new, in-vehicle warning system that communicates with the external HRGC warning systems. The system gives drivers different rail-crossing-related warnings (e.g., approaching crossing, train presence) depending on the vehicle location. In a rare field study, 15 experienced drivers drove a connected vehicle (Chevy Volt) and used the warning system on a 12-mile loop, then completed a semi-structured interview and usability survey. Results from the post-drive survey and interview are reported and provide a template for future usability assessments for field studies involving new technologies.

Brittany Nelson
Identifying Healthy Lifestyle Knowledge Gaps Among Medical and Non-medical Students
Abstract: Across the US, chronic illnesses including cancer and cardiovascular disease are a result of poor lifestyle decisions such as diet, tobacco/alcohol use, and physical inactivity. Data suggests that previous interventions lack effectiveness for impacting lifestyle decisions, particularly long term. One reason why individuals continue to engage in unhealthy behaviors may be due to gaps in understanding that are not currently filled by previously developed interventions. To the extent individuals are informed of the risks/benefits of key health behaviors and the tools valuable for overcoming challenges associated with engaging/quitting those behaviors then people are more equipped to make decisions that are in-line with their goals and values. Little information exists on what informational gaps people hold. Therefore, the objective of this study was two-fold. First, it was designed to measure how calibrated medical and non-medical students are on the relation between lifestyle behaviors and their risk of major diseases. Second, this study was designed to identify informational gaps that impact perceived challenges of engaging in healthier lifestyle behaviors. Data from medical (N = 128) and non-medical (N = 24) students suggests they hold insufficient knowledge regarding the relation between lifestyle behaviors and risk of health outcomes. The most commonly reported barriers across non-dietary behaviors were time 39%, lack of motivation 15%, and weather 9%. The most commonly reported barriers specific to eating behaviors were cost 26%, taste 21%, and food spoiling too quickly 10%. The results from this study have implications for future intervention design.

ACSHF Forum: Grad Student Presentation

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host ACSHF PhD Student Shruti Amre at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. The presentation, “Keep Your Hands on the Wheel: The Effect of Driver Engagement Strategies on Change Detection, Mind Wandering, and Gaze Behavior”, will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (April 4) in Meese 109.

Abstract: Advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) have revolutionized traditional driving by enabling drivers to relinquish operational control of the vehicle to automation for part of the total drive. These features only work under certain pre-defined conditions and require drivers to be attentive to their surroundings. While the features are engaged, there is an increased risk associated with drivers losing awareness of their environment. Popular manufacturers like Tesla requires drivers to have their hands-on-the-wheel while Cadillac’s ADAS requires drivers to keep their eyes-on-the road. We utilized a low-fidelity simulation and eye-tracking to examine the effects of hands-on-the-wheel and eyes-on-the-road driver engagement strategies on change detection, mind wandering, and gaze behavior in a semi-autonomous driving task.

Human Factors in Healthcare Keynote: Dr. Rupa Valdez presents “Creating Systems That Promote Equity: A Journey Across Disciplines”

Please join us Friday (Mar 25) in ATDC conference room 101 (and via Zoom); talk from 3:30-4:30, with interactive discussion to follow from 4:30-5:00.

Dr. Rupa Valdez is an associate professor at the University of Virginia with joint appointments in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is also a core faculty member of Global Studies and the Disability Studies Initiative. Dr. Valdez merges the disciplines of human factors engineering, health informatics, and cultural anthropology to understand and support the ways in which people manage health at home and in the community.

We encourage faculty and graduate students with any overlap in research, interest in collaboration, or just interest in learning more about Dr. Valdez’s work/journey/activism to join us!

This event is co-sponsored by CLS, KIP, and CSA, and is sponsored in part by the Michigan Tech Visiting Professor Program, which is funded by a grant to the Office of the Provost from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative. Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Abstract:
Catalyzed by the pandemic and by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many
others, there is rapidly growing interest in determining how we can create sociotechnical
systems that promote equity rather than perpetuate disparity and injustice. In this talk, I share
and critically reflect on my journey toward this goal over the last decade. I begin with earlier
efforts to merge approaches from cultural anthropology and engineering to inform the design
of patient-facing health information technologies. I end with more recent community-based
participatory research and policy-based efforts to reimagine public health education, accessible
healthcare, and the role of community in shaping the research process.  My engagement with
historically marginalized communities has pushed my efforts from a primary focus on creating
technologies aligned with the contexts in which such communities are embedded to a broader
focus on working with communities to shift these contexts. In concluding remarks, I reflect on
how encouraging such work requires, at minimum, embracing a broader conceptualization of
engineering and, more ambitiously, work that may be considered a-disciplinary.

BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Rupa Valdez is an associate professor at the University of Virginia with
joint appointments in the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering
and Applied Sciences. She is also a core faculty member of Global Studies and the Disability
Studies Initiative. Dr. Valdez merges the disciplines of human factors engineering, health
informatics, and cultural anthropology to understand and support the ways in which people
manage health at home and in the community. Her research and teaching focuses on
underserved populations, including populations that are racial/ethnic minorities, are of low
socioeconomic status, or are living with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. Her work
draws heavily on community engagement and has been supported by the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Science
Foundation (NSF), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), among others. She recently
testified before Congress on the topic of health equity for the disability community and
received the Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
(HFES) for her pioneering work in creating and developing the subdiscipline of patient
ergonomics.
Dr. Valdez currently serves as an Associate Editor for Ergonomics, the Journal of American
Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) Open, and Human Factors in Healthcare. Among other
appointments, she serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of People with
Disabilities and on PCORI’s Patient Engagement Advisory Panel. She is further the
founder and president of Blue Trunk Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to
making it easier for people with chronic health conditions, disabilities, and
age-related conditions to travel. Dr. Valdez herself lives with multiple chronic health
conditions and disabilities, which have and continue to influence her work and advocacy.

ACSHF Forum: Monday, January 11

Over the last 100 years, the way we work has changed drastically, transitioning from the early ideas of scientific management by Frederick Taylor to concepts rooted in high organizational agility. Agile, a movement focused on improving the way we work, is one of the movements that has led the way to transforming the way we think about working with people.

During this session, Mark Cruth, a long-time Agile advocate and 2009 Michigan Tech Psychology graduate, will share his experience with Agile and how leveraging intrinsic motivation has positively influencing organizational culture change over the last 20 years. Please join us on Zoom for the presentation on Monday, January 11, at 2 pm. Zoom meeting link.

ACSHF Forum: Monday, February 8

Cyber crime has a significant impact on nations, corporations, and individuals. Violations of information security can reduce consumer confidence and valuation at the corporate level, and jeopardize social and financial well-being at the personal level.

In this talk, Robert West, an Elizabeth P. Allen Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience of DePauw University, will explore the findings of some of his recent research to demonstrate the utility of a decision neuroscience approach to providing insight into the neural correlates of ethical decision making in the context of information security. Please join the ACSHF Forum on Zoom Monday, February 8, at 2 pm. Zoom meeting link

ACSHF Forum with Dr. Ricardo Eiris

All are invited to attend a virtual conversation with Dr. Ricardo Eiris, whose research leverages virtual reality to enable STEM students to obtain active learning experiences in remote, dangerous, or too expensive to reach locations.

In this ACSHF Forum, Dr. Eiris will be discussing how virtual reality can be used to deliver virtual field trip experiences to STEM students. Site visits or field trips are a common tool utilized by STEM educators to engage students in active learning, assist traditional lessons, and attain stronger and deeper student learning experiences. However, there are major logistical challenged for educational institutions and teachers to perform these types of experiences. These barriers to implement site visits effectively reduce the number of students that have access to the benefits of such technique. By exploring the intersection of engineering, computer science, and cognitive and learning sciences, Dr. Eiris’ work in virtual site visits aim to overcome the existing barriers for STEM field trips and provide means to expand learning beyond what is possible in the classroom or the field.

Please join Dr. Eiris in exploring the democratization of STEM site visits to enable students to have unlimited access to otherwise impossible opportunities. Some of the specific multidisciplinary topics that will be covered in this forum discussion will be virtual reality, omnidirectional images, virtual humans, collaborative learning, and attentional allocation.

Dr. Kelly Steelman to participate in HFES fellowship program

Dr. Kelly Steelman (CLS) has been selected from a competitive pool of applicants to participate in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Science Policy Fellowship program.

The HFES Science Policy Fellows (SPF) program provides a valuable opportunity for HFES members to learn how to successfully advocate for human factors and ergonomics on the national stage. SPF Participants will receive extensive training in public affairs, advocacy and outreach to be provided by Lewis-Burke Associates and the HFES Government Relations Committee during the HFES Annual Meeting. They will also participate in an annual spring Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C., including a Hill visit training session and a policy-related speaker prior to the visit day. They will be invited to attend monthly conference calls with Lewis-Burke and the HFES Government Relations Committee covering ongoing events and opportunities for HFES to engage in policy decisions.

Following an initial one-year term in the SPF program, each program graduate will commit to two years of service in an outreach capacity. They will create a customized plan that may include continued participation in the Capitol Hill day and interactions with policymakers in Washington, DC, working at the local/state level, serving on the GRC or a subcommittee, and other forms of outreach developed by each participant. HFES SPF participants and graduates will form the basis of a future brain trust with expertise in outreach creating a pipeline of politically engaged and knowledgeable members within HFES.

Copied from Tech Today page for June 17th 2019.

Dr. Stockero is new AMTE Executive Director

Raleigh NC, June 07, 2019 – The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) is excited to announce the selection of Executive Director Designate, Dr. Shari Stockero from Michigan Tech University, who will begin her term of service as Executive Director in February 2020.

Shari Stockero is a Professor of Mathematics Education and the Director of Teacher Education at Michigan Technological University. She has served AMTE in a variety of ways, including as Associate Vice-President for the Emerging Issues Committee, as a member of the Conference Program Committee, and on the Editorial Panel of the seventh AMTE monograph. She also led the group that formed the Michigan AMTE affiliate (MI-AMTE) and has served as chair of the PME-NA Steering Committee. Her collaborative NSF-funded research project (Building on MOSTs: Investigating Productive Use of High-Leverage Student Mathematical Thinking) focuses on understanding what it looks like to productively use high-potential instances of student mathematical thinking during a lesson to support student learning. She is also co-PI on an NSF Noyce project (Michigan Middle School Master Teacher Fellows Program) that focuses on developing middle school science teacher leaders in Michigan.

We were pleased to receive excellent applications and to interview two outstanding finalists for the position.  Persons on the search team were impressed both by Shari’s history of active participation and experience in AMTE activities, as well as her ability to look broadly at the mathematics teacher education landscape and envision how AMTE can continue to be a strong voice in mathematics teacher education.  All of the applications we received were from persons who have great organizational skills, strong communication skills, and a deep love for the work of AMTE.

The search process for the new executive director was completed over three months, but included many months prior with discussions and encouragement of members to apply for the position.  The formal search was led by Randy Philipp, current Past-President of AMTE, and included the following members of the search team: Mike Steelecurrent AMTE PresidentTim Hendrixcurrent AMTE Executive DirectorJennifer Bay-Williamspast president of AMTE; Christine Browning, former Vice-President of Publications and former AMTE Board member; Eva Thanheiser, current Board Member-at-LargeDorothy Y. White, former AMTE Board member;and Trena Wilkerson, former AMTE Board Member and current Associate Vice-President for Conferences.  We want to thank these individuals for their service to AMTE in leading this important search process.

Applications for the position were solicited and submitted by the end of February.  Review of applications and interview of finalist candidates were conducted in March.  In the April Board meeting, the search committee made a recommendation to the AMTE Board of Directors to appoint Shari Stockero. After unanimous approval, the offer of service was extended to Shari, who accepted the appointment with an initial four-year term of service. Discussions then began between Shari, AMTE, and her home institution, Michigan Technological University (MTU), to develop a Memorandum of Agreement, which was approved by the AMTE Board in their May meeting, and has been executed by both AMTE and MTU.  AMTE provides the Executive Director with a nominal stipend and support funds to operate the AMTE Headquarters at their home institution, given in the form of a subcontract to the host institution.

Shari Stockero will become the fourth Executive Director of AMTE, following Judith Jacobs (1998 – 2000), Nadine Bezuk (2001 – 2014) and Tim Hendrix (2014 – 2020). Shari will shadow current Executive Director, Tim Hendrix, and continue to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of Executive Director. At the conclusion of the 24th AMTE Annual Conference in February 2020, Hendrix will step down and Stockero will begin her term of service.  AMTE is fortunate to have dedicated members who are invested in the mission and goals of the organization, and who commit their professional time and service to AMTE.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Timothy Hendrix, current AMTE Executive Director at 919.760.8240 or by email at hendrixt@meredith.edu.

Copied from AMTE website