Engineering Education Research


First IEEE Nordic Education Society Chapter workshop


Uppsala May 9-10, 2003



The first IEEE Nordic Education Society Chapter workshop was held in Uppsala on May 9-10. The theme was Engineering Education Research. Trond Clausen from Telemark University College, the chair of the IEEE Nordic Education Society Chapter, opened the workshop with some words about the newly founded chapter and a greeting from David Kerns, the president of IEEE Education Society (see appendix). Mats Daniels gave some general information about the workshop before leaving the floor to the keynote speaker Dr. Jennifer Turns from Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education at University of Washington at Seattle, USA. A short biography on Jennifer is appended. Her talk was entitled:


Linking Research in Learning Sciences and Engineering Education:

A Sample of Empirical Studies


The presentation gave good insight into how educational research can be done and difficulties with it. The presentation, and the interaction it inspired to, set the workshop off to a good start. Most of the 21 attendees, a list of their names is appended, were in the field of computer science, but traditional engineering and physics were also represented.


The first block of presentations were around the CS learner project lead by professor Michael Thuné at Uppsala University. The focus of the presentations by Anders Berglund and Anna Eckerdal were on how and why phenomenography can be used in researching students learning of object oriented programming and network protocols.


The second block of presentations were around different efforts to understand what goes on in a course, e.g. introductory object oriented programming at Umeå University presented by Jürgen Börstler or how students describe their emotions in relation to programming at Blekinge Tekniska Högskola presented by Christina Björkman. Sirpa Torvinen and Jarkko Suhonen from University of Jouensuu talked about the ViSCos project and trying to find out where the students have difficulties leading to drop off and how to prevent this.


The day was concluded by Peter Gates from the Swedish council of renewal of higher education talking about how they looked at the difference between research and development. Their view is that the projects they fund should use existing research results and implement them and in close collaboration with the students.


The first block of presentations at Saturday had presentations that looked at different aspects of animation and visualization. Andrea Valente from Aalborg University talked about a “tool” that could be used to introduce mathematical thinking to kids aged 8-12, without them first having to learn a lot of mathematics. Philippas Tsigas and Boris Koldehofe from Chalmers presented ideas behind their simulation and animation tool, LYDIAN, and demonstrated how it could be used in the context of distributed algorithms. Jarmo Rantakokko from Uppsala University presented a project aimed at implementing animation interactions based on previous findings in a parallel programming course. The block was ended with a presentation by Lars Pettersson from Uppsala University who demonstrated how a special pen and paper could be used to via Bluetooth technology store information on how and when things got on the paper. This information could then be replayed.


The last presentation block was held by Mats Daniels from Uppsala University presenting the Runestone project and a process model for how to structure a study in computer science, or any other subject, educational research.


The workshop was ended with a general discussion about engineering education research. Issues like the close interaction between research and practice came up, e.g. Jennifer Turns placed the presenters on a circular graph with two nodes, “research” and “teaching”, highlighting how research effects teaching and how teaching inspires research.


Further information about the different projects presented can be found via links from the webpage of the workshop,



Mats Daniels

Vice chair

IEEE Nordic Education Society Chapter



Greeting from David Kerns:


Trond, Mats, and other Organizers.


Congratulations on organizing the first IEEE Nordic Education Society Chapter Workshop. The theme Engineering Education Research is important to our profession and of great interest to the IEEE Education Society and its members. It is also an honor for me to recognize the accomplishments of our new chapter for the joint Norway/Denmark/Finland/Iceland/Sweden Sections.


The work of the chapters in our Society is critical, because it enables members to meet colleges with similar interests, and promote productive discussion, within a geographic area. I thank you for your efforts on behalf of the IEEE Education Society.


I am very sorry that I am unable to attend this workshop, and hope I can attend the next one. I am with you in spirit, and wish you the very best success.


My regards,


Dave Kerns

President, IEEE Education Society


Dr. Jennifer Turns is on the faculty in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington.  Her broad research interests include engineering education, user-centered and learner-centered design, information design, audience analysis, and the role of technology in learning.  Her engineering education work has focused on engineering design learning, knowledge integration, and disciplinary understanding.


Additionally, she has used a wide variety of methods to conduct this research including verbal protocol analysis, concept mapping, and ethnography.  Dr. Turns received her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is the recent recipient of a prestigious NSF Career Award, for her work entitled Using Portfolios to Promote Knowledge Integration in Engineering Education. 


Contact information:




Vilius Bentis, Danish Technical University (DTU), Copenhagen, Denmark

Anders Berglund, Uppsala University, Sweden

Christina Björkman, Uppsala University, Sweden

Jürgen Börstler, Umeå University, Sweden

Trond Clausen, Telemark University College, Norway

Mats Daniels, Uppsala University, Sweden

Anna Eckerdal, Uppsala University, Sweden

Maja Elmgren, Uppsala University, Sweden

Flemming Fink, Aalborg University

Peter Gates, the council for renewal of higher education, Stockholm, Sweden

Boris Coldehofe, Chalmers, Göteborg, Sweden

Lars Pettersson, Uppsala University, Sweden

Jarmo Rantakokko, Uppsala University, Sweden

Filip Sebek, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, Sweden

Jarkko Suhonen, University of Juensuu, Finland

Michael Thuné, Uppsala University, Sweden

Sirpa Torvinen, University of Juensuu, Finland

Philippas Tsigas, Chalmers, Göteborg, Sweden

Jennifer Turns, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Andrea Valente, Aalborg University Esbjerg Campus, Denmark