Fall Nebraska Discipline-Based Engineering Education Research Program

Fall Nebraska Discipline-Based Engineering Education Research Program
Contact - Grace Panther
Department - Architectural Engineering - Biological Systems Engineering - Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering - Civil & Environmental Engineering - Construction Engineering - Construction Management - Electrical & Computer Engineering - Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Students Needed:
• Undergraduate
• Undergraduate Research Program Opportunities
Faculty in discipline-based education research (DBER) in engineering seek undergraduate researchers to join a 12-week program that introduces students to research in engineering education and builds research skills appropriate for any engineering field. DBER in engineering encompasses the study of the teaching and learning of our youngest engineering hopefuls to the practices and wisdom of our retiring engineers and all students and practitioners in between. The body of research that is generated provides the evidence for local, national, and global change in how we educate students. For more information on DBER click here.

Participants in the 12-week program will each have their own assigned project culminating in a research poster presentation (for examples, see Current and Past Students) .

Learning opportunities include but are not limited to:
  • Data analysis to expand skills with Excel and other research tools
  • Literature review and reading to become more familiar with library resources and research in engineering education
  • Research poster construction and manuscript writing to gain experience with research dissemination
  • Other professional development opportunities will be available based on participant’s needs and interests.
Participants must be available to work a minimum of 10 hours each week (Fall 2020: September 1 - November 20). Work will be conducted remotely with twice-weekly meetings with the overall DBER team and the supervising faculty member. Successful students may be invited to continue with their undergraduate research after the 12-week period.


  • Must be an undergraduate student in at least the second year of study at UNL
  • All engineering majors considered.
  • Must be self-motivated, dependable, and capable of working independently as well as on a team.
  • Willing to learn new skills.

Active Projects:

COVID: RAPID: Faculty Adaptability and Community Engagement when Teaching in a Crisis

Advisors: Heidi Diefes-Dux and Grace Panther
The unfolding response to the COVID-19 is changing how universities conduct course instruction. This response is enabling a one-time opportunity for ground-breaking research to study how crisis-induced changes to instruction influence faculty’s teaching experience. Two research questions guide the project: 1) During a crisis, how do engineering faculty and staff experience changes in course delivery (with a focus on cognition, emotions, and community engagement)? and 2) How do these experiences vary throughout the duration of the crisis?

Structured Self-Reflection Prompts for Guiding Engineering Students’ Actions and Plan

Advisor: Heidi Diefes-Dux
Students do not always engage in self-reflection when assessing their learning. This makes it difficult for students to plan and act to improve their ability to learn. Different types of structured self-reflection prompts were implemented in an engineering course to provide students with an explicit opportunity to assess their learning. The research question to be addressed is: How does the type of reflection prompt impact the nature of students’ responses in terms of articulated actions and plans across a semester?

How to apply?

How To Apply? Deadline for Fall 2020 applications is August 30, 2020. Email cover letter including interest in engineering education research, resume, unofficial transcript (generated in MyRED) to Dr. Grace Panther.