Teaching and assessing engineering design thinking with virtual internships and epistemic network analysis

Golnaz Arastoopour, David Williamson Shaffer, Zachari Swiecki, A. R. Ruis, Naomi C. Chesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


An engineering workforce of sufficient size and quality is essential for addressing significant global challenges such as climate change, world hunger, and energy demand. Future generations of engineers will need to identify challenging issues and design innovative solutions. To prepare young people to solve big and increasingly global problems, researchers and educators need to understand how we can best educate young people to use engineering design thinking. In this paper, we explore virtual internships, online simulations of 21st-century engineering design practice, as one method for teaching engineering design thinking. To assess the engineering design thinking, we use epistemic network analysis (ENA), a tool for measuring complex thinking as it develops over time based on discourse analysis. The combination of virtual internships and ENA provides opportunities for students to engage in authentic engineering design, potentially receive concurrent feedback on their engineering design thinking, and develop the identity, values, and ways of thinking of professional engineers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1492-1501
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Design thinking
  • Engineering design
  • Learning sciences
  • Online learning
  • Virtual internship

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