MS Thesis Presentation
Networks of Ambiguity in Project-Based Learning:
Understanding How Students Experience and Manage Ambiguity in WPI’s IQP Experience
WPI’s global and off-campus IQPs, rich with real-world sponsors/projects and increasingly diverse teams, require that both faculty and students navigate a network of ambiguous situations and relationships. Despite the increasing adoption of project-based learning as a preferred educational model across higher education, and the prevalence of project-based work in STEM careers, research on how to best prepare students and faculty to identify and navigate ambiguity inherent to project-based learning is limited. Seeking to fill this important gap, this graduate thesis advances a pilot qualitative study focused on how students in domestic, off campus IQPs experience and navigate ambiguity within their IQPs. The thesis presents preliminary grounded theory regarding the types of ambiguity experienced by students, how students navigate through the ambiguity, and elements that appear to impact a student’s success in that navigation.
Katherine “Katie” Elmes has spent her career working to address inequity in education. She currently works in the STEM Education Center at WPI as the director of equity, access, & community. In this role she collaborates with partners on and off campus to ensure that all students have opportunities to engage in meaningful STEM experiences. Katie is also finishing her Master’s of Science in Management at WPI where she has focused much of her learning on organizational behavior and change concepts, often looking at these areas through the lens of the educational system.
Advisor: Elizabeth Long Lingo
Contact: Katie Elmes email@example.com