Published on May 25, 2021

Congratulations to Michigan Tech professors Nancy Barr and Jaclyn Johnson, authors of “Trajectories in Turmoil: A Case Study of Engineering Students’ Reactions to Disruptions in their Community of Practice” in the March 2021 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. The article has been selected for special recognition by IEEE’s marketing department as one of a small number of articles on the COVID-19 pandemic. The article has been “unlocked” on IEEE Xplore to allow anyone to access it to promote our Transactions and IEEE journals generally.

Trajectories in Turmoil: A Case Study of Engineering Students’ Reactions to Disruptions in Their Community of Practice, by N. B. Barr and J. E. Johnson

The loss of in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for engineering students in practice-based courses as they lost the courses’ hands-on aspect, which is essential for reinforcing theoretical concepts. They also lost the support provided through daily interactions with peers and instructors. In this teaching case, students in a required four-course practice-based mechanical engineering sequence shared their perspectives via reflective portfolio essays on how the change affected their ability to participate in learning communities and negotiate meaningful learning experiences. Their concerns varied depending on their position in the course sequence and the course; however, most felt that the loss of in-person interaction was most detrimental and disruptive in the transition online and resulted in communication and teaming issues.