Research in Engineering Education

Faculty and educators at Queen's University engage in engineering education research to advance the knowledge base of engineering education and to enhance the teaching and learning environment for students.

Research and Educational Innovation Projects

  • Research/Innovation: TRESTLE: Transforming Education, Stimulating Teaching and Learning Excellence


    This is a longitudinal study supported by NSF funding with the goal of expanding and supporting the adoption of empirically-validated instructional methods in undergraduate courses, and improving student learning outcomes in those courses. A network of seven universities, led by Kansas University (KU), will each test a three-year intervention with two major components: a) postdoctoral scholars or faculty leaders in STEM departments helping faculty transform large courses around research-based educational practices, and b) developing communities of scholars around course transformation across departments and across the network of institutions.

    The specific aims of the project are to evaluate the efficacy of this intervention model in promoting widespread, sustained changes in teaching practices and culture, and to determine whether the changes in teaching practices are associated with improved student learning and success in transformed courses.

  • Research/Innovation: Engineering Change Lab
    Engineering Change Lab

    Unlocking the potential of the engineering profession in Canada systemically, experimentally and collaboratively.

    As the world becomes increasingly fast-paced and complex, a strong Engineering Profession is more vital than ever before:

    • To ensure Canada’s competitiveness
    • To tackle the biggest challenges facing our world in the 21st century
    • To ensure science is applied in a way that creates a world that works for everyone

    Recognizing that no individual stakeholder can solve these challenges alone, in January of 2015 Engineers Canada (EC) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) co-convened senior leaders representing 36 organizations representing a microcosm of the profession.

    Together they launched the Engineering Change Lab (Eng Lab) as a platform for tackling these challenges in order to unleash the full potential of the profession in Canada.

    A multi-year, multi-stakeholder platform that supports practical innovation across traditional organizational boundaries, that represents a new approach that is systemic, experimental, and collaborative.

  • Research/Innovation: Engineering Graduate Attribute Development (EGAD)
    EGAD - Engineering Graduate Attribute Development

    Engineering Graduate Attribute Development (EGAD) Project is a collaborative effort that is co-sponsored by the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science (NCDEAS), and Engineers Canada. It is comprised of engineering educators and educational developers from across Canada. The purpose of EGAD is to develop and offer on-line resources and regional workshops to assist Canadian engineering programs to make the transition to outcome-based programming, assessment, and accreditation.

  • Research/Innovation: STEMEd@Q Seminar Series
    Prof. David Strong in class with Engineering students

    Join us at the monthly seminar series about research and innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education at Queen’s. This is an opportunity to present current work and learn about interesting activities happening at Queen’s.

  • Research/Innovation: Mobile Makerspace Trailer
    Queen's Connections Mobile Makerspace Trailer

    In an attempt to minimize any potential barriers that a physical location of a makerspace might have, such as access for rural communities, Connections: Queen’s University Engineering Experience Program (outreach) is designing and building a mobile makerspace. The purpose of this innovation project is to contribute towards increasing diversity in engineering by travelling to both urban and rural schools to deliver engineering education workshops that are linked to Ontario curriculum documents. These workshops will provide opportunities for students to strengthen their 21st-century competencies, and help build the capacity of educators to integrate engineering and innovation into their teaching and learning practice.

  • Research: Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium

    Researchers at Queen’s are part of a research initiative, funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) that consists of universities and colleges across Ontario. This project investigates methods and best practices for the assessment of critical thinking, problem-solving, written communication and lifelong learning within courses and programs in the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Queen’s University.

    The purpose of the study is to:

    • Quantify student achievement of transferable learning outcomes;
    • Develop reliable and sustainable means of assessing student learning;
    • Encourage faculty to develop and assess transferable skills in their courses and programs;
    • Build a foundation for a wider rollout across faculties and programs in the coming years.

    The project utilizes a range of assessment strategies:

    • Assessment using standardized quantitative instruments;
    • Assessment of course artefacts using meta-rubrics scored independently of course grading;
    • Working with course instructors to align teaching, learning, and assessment of complex cognitive skills and evaluate the utility of the instruments used

    Learn more about the project on the Learning Outcomes Assessment Consortium website.

  • Research: The Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT)

    We are working a project for The Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) with researchers at Seneca and York developing an outcomes-based transfer framework between two pairs of common engineering and technology programs in Ontario in support of pathways between university and college programs.

    In this project, the framework is used to compare and align learning outcomes at both course& and program levels in two disciplines: Electrical Engineering/Electrical Technology, and Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Technology. It examines curricula, course syllabi, implicit expectations on final examinations and reports from multiple programs across the province. It analyses and reports on commonalities and differences between the engineering and technology programs. The analysis will form the basis of recommendations to support transfer between these programs, which may include a competency-based bridging program.

  • Research: Postsecondary and Workplace Skills (PAWS)

    The Postsecondary and Workplace Skills (PAWS) project is a joint project with Mohawk College, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and the Education Policy Research Group (EPRI), funded in part by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and HEQCO. Its purpose is to link critical thinking skills in postsecondary education to labour market outcomes.

    The objectives are to examine and compare the critical thinking skill level of first- and fourth-year students and to study the relationship between the skill levels of the fourth-year students to labour market success.

    The results of this project could inform policy and program development, thereby helping students develop and enhance critical thinking skills.

  • Research: Natasha Lanziner

    Sustainable Engineering Practice

    Info to follow.

  • Research: Hannah Smith

    Info to follow.

  • Research: Scott Compeau

    How engineering outreach organizations mobilize knowledge on Makerspaces to build K-12 educator capacity

    Makerspaces, physical spaces that provide access to fabrication tools, technologies, and resources, are potentially changing the way educators envision teaching and learning. As evidence supporting makerspaces and the impact they can have on student learning increases, a key challenge is fostering a knowledge mobilization (KMb) link between makerspace research and the educators who are looking for ways to design, implement, and utilize them. This research aims to explore how an engineering outreach organization can act as a knowledge broker to collaborate with educators looking to incorporate makerspaces in their school.

    Scott Compeau is our Engineering Outreach Coordinator and is currently working towards his PhD. Scott recently completed his Masters in Engineering Education - here's an overview of his thesis:

    The Calling of an Engineer: High School Students’ Perceptions of Engineering

    An increase in awareness of the engineering profession is needed to ensure high school students have the knowledge to make informed career choices, which may lead to achieving high-quality engineering graduates and diversifying the profession in Canada. The focus of this research study was to provide insight into high school students’ perceptions of engineering and the work engineers do. This research was framed within a constructivist theoretical lens, and sequential multiple methods were utilized for data collection. The phase 1 questionnaire incorporated closed and open-ended questions pertaining to the engineering profession and was completed by 97 students, while 11 students participated in the phase 2 semi-structured interviews. The findings show that these students’ descriptions of engineering involve the mental aspects of designing or creating, knowledge in Math and Science, and the physical aspect of building. However, these three categories were mentioned by less than half of the participants. Therefore, a significant percentage of these Grades 9 and 10 students have unclear views about engineering, which suggests they currently cannot make an informed decision in considering engineering for a possible career path.


View a collection of research publications written by our Engineering Education staff: Publications

Graduate Opportunities in Engineering Education

Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science offers an established, supportive and vibrant research environment in the field of Engineering Education.

Check back here regularly as we add details of current and past grad students and their projects. See what inspires you and imagine how your research could advance engineering education.

If you would like to discuss current opportunities, please get in touch with David Strong.