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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Louisville Research Foundation Inc
  • Jessica B Buckley
  • (256) 320-3243
  • Brian S Robinson
  • Thomas R Tretter
Award Date:07/09/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 118,767
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 118,767
  • FY 2020=$118,767
Start Date:08/01/2020
End Date:07/31/2021
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:RAPID: Mitigating the Potential Negative Impacts of Involuntary Online Engineering Courses to Diverse Students’ Sense of Belonging
Federal Award ID Number:2037605
DUNS ID:057588857
Parent DUNS ID:057588857
Program Officer:
  • Michael Ferrara
  • (703) 292-2635

Awardee Location

Street:Atria Support Center
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Louisville
Street:2301 S 3rd St
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

This project aims to serve the national interest by identifying how the unexpected shift to remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic impacts undergraduate engineering students from diverse populations. Specifically, this work focuses on students’ sense of belonging, which is a documented predictor of student success. The rapid transition to remote teaching may result in students facing a “triple threat,” since student’s personal identities, online course formats, and the STEM disciplines themselves each can obstruct development of a sense of belonging in STEM. This treat may be particularly acute for students from racially/ethnically underrepresented populations, first generation students, women, and students from low income backgrounds. The project will carry out its research activities in several online engineering foundations courses that have traditionally been held in-person. Collecting and analyzing data from these courses will be especially important since they generally serve as students’ first postsecondary exposure to engineering and are thus important first steps towards completing an engineering degree. A multi-phase mixed-methods approach will address the following research questions: (a) How do engineering students perceive their sense of belonging in involuntary remote courses and why? (b) What elements of remote engineering courses are most influential for equitably fostering a sense of belonging for all the students? The project will measure sense of belonging with an existing four-item scale for which the institution has historical engineering student responses. Given the importance of examining sense of belonging in the context of an online course, the Community of Inquiry framework, designed to examine key elements of an online course, is also a component of the study. Sources of data will include surveys of first year engineering students, small focus groups with students from populations of interest, and course observations. The study design affords both examination of the overarching relationships among belonging, student identity, and course delivery as well as in-depth understanding of why and how elements of a course relate to students’ sense of belonging. The impacts of the study’s findings include the potential to help campuses mitigate potential threats facing diverse students currently in remote courses because of COVID-19 and to craft future online STEM courses that avoid such threats. This RAPID award is made by the IUSE program in the Division of Undergraduate Education (Education and Human Resources Directorate). This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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