Exploring Engineering Problem Solving Online: Developing A Web Portal to Collect and Align Multiple Perspectives

Students working at a creative problem-solving session.

Can we use web technology to crowdsource perspectives on engineering problem solving?

Project description

The explicit goal of this project is to develop a web portal that will support the collection of evaluative feedback about engineering problem solving. The web portal should allow for the uploading of videos, images, pdfs, etc. – any “artifacts” that derive from problem solving episodes. 

Once such data is collected and contained, invited evaluators should be able to review those problem solving episodes (videos) and related artifacts (pdfs, images) and provide feedback and evaluation. Ideally, this feedback and evaluation should be correlated to a specific video timestamp and/or part of the artifacts. 

The project will focus on development of the front end and user experience to meet the application needs (the backend is already set up for managing the uploaded data.) The broad context of this project is the understanding and development of engineering problem solving skills, which can be considered on multiple dimensions, like conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge, translating theory to practice, cognition, critical thinking, metacognition, and professional competencies. The problem solvers could include students, faculty, and practicing engineers. We want to build a portal that allows a variety of perspectives – students, instructors, practicing engineers – to comment on problem solving episodes. We see this portal as being able to support specific, yet to be defined research questions, whose exploration will help to inform pedagogical practices in engineering.

Project outcome

A web portal prototype that can meet requirements and be demonstrated as part of a final presentation.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Anytime
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Can work as an individual or small group
Benefits Academic Credit
Who is eligible Some exposure to web development technologies 

Core partners

  • Andrew Olewnik, Assistant Professor, Engineering Education; Director of Experiential Learning Programs, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Project mentor

Alan Hunt

Professor of Practice

Computer Science and Engineering

354 Davis Hall

Phone: (716) 645-3184

Email: ahunt@buffalo.edu

Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Familiarize yourself with the basics of web development
  • Gain a basic understanding of relational databases


Computer Science and Engineering