Women are drastically underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In fact, although women comprise 48 percent of the workforce, they only hold 24 percent of STEM jobs.
Eugene Rutz, academic director at University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, is tackling this statistic head-on with dual enrollment and flipped instruction using Mediasite.
Using dual enrollment, 12 Cincinnati-area high schools — including four all-girls schools — complete the first level of collegiate engineering courses while still in high school, earning high school and college credit before they ever enroll. With flipped instruction, students watch videos via Mediasite prepared by University of Cincinnati faculty, and then attend classes led by high school teachers who lead project-based activities and discussions about how engineering applies in the real world.
“We saw an opportunity to provide content in a way that was engaging and accessible by using video,” Rutz said. “We use Mediasite to record small lectures of our faculty and staff on engineering topics such as what is engineering, what is mechanical engineering? What is the engineering design process? We can make these available to the students and schools at their convenience – as often as they want.”
More than 520 students have participated in the program, and many have changed career paths as a result. At Mount Notre Dame, an all-girls high school, “over half of the participating students chose to pursue engineering, some years,” Rutz said. “I think it’s remarkable success.”
While a student at Kings High School in Kings Mills, Ohio, Gretchen Kellerstrass took two college-level engineering courses and is now enrolled in UC’s mechanical engineering technology program.
“This was my first experience doing an online course, and I really enjoyed it,” said Kellerstrass. “I learn better from viewing something and doing things hands-on. So I watched the lecture first, and I could observe it and understand it. Then I could go into the classroom and do the projects. I thought everything in our engineering class was so intriguing, I wanted to learn more and solve problems. Taking these classes in high school let me test the waters. I never really thought engineering was a route for me, and now it’s going to be my life.”