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Abstract Title: Transferability and specialization: analyzing STEM students’ perspectives of problem-solving
Abstract: Problem-solving is emphasized in introductory physics courses to equip students with tools that hopefully transfer to their future lives and careers. The EMPOWER project interviewed undergraduate STEM majors from computing, manufacturing, nursing, energy, and physics about their perspectives on problem-solving. Sixty-nine student focus groups were conducted, totaling 239 students. All students emphasized the importance of problem-solving in their discipline of study, but no single practice of problem-solving was applicable for all students. Most problem-solving perspectives were unique to each discipline (e.g., perseverance was emphasized in physics, empathy in nursing), while some perspectives were emphasized across several STEM fields (e.g., teamwork). Transferable problem-solving practices were often used alongside specialized practices to handle the unique challenges of each discipline. Findings suggest shifting away from framing problem-solving as a solitary transferable skill and toward framing problem-solving as an integrated set of context-dependent practices. (Supported by NSF DGE-1561493)
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A67
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Vina Macias
Rochester Institute of Technology
85 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
Phone: 5853559177
and Co-Presenter(s)
Jake Poirier
Dr. Benjamin Zwickl
Dr. Sue Rothwell