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Dr. Lijun Zhang shares experience as visiting scholar

The Department of Engineering Education welcomed Dr. Lijun Zhang from the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) in China from March 2019- March 2020 as a visiting scholar. Receiving her Ph.D. in Optical Engineering from BIT and teaching engineering courses for fifteen years, Zhang wanted to explore the intersectionality of her background to the discipline of Engineering Education. Dr. Denver Tang, Assistant Professor of Practice, served as her advisor while visiting campus. 

Dr. Tang, met with Dr. Zhang weekly to focus on research interests. Together they focused on improving students’ problem-solving skills and how to assess the improvement. By auditing courses, attending seminars, observing other instructors, and exploring new research methods, Zhang says she gained valuable ideas from pedagogy to research methods, from the broad research perspective to the deep analysis of data.

Dr. Monica Cox (left), Dr. Lijun Zhang (right)Dr. Monica Cox (left), Dr. Lijun Zhang (right)Dr. Tang’s ENGR 1181 and 1182 courses were described by Zhang as well- organized and “…weaved orderly according to the timeline to scaffold students effectively and lead to the final success gradually… I audited in some classes including ENGR 2367 instructed by Dr. Herman from which I learned so many effective methods to improve the students’ technical communicating skills, ENGREDU 7780 instructed by Dr. Delaine and Dr. Dringenberg from which I got some good ideas to construct my research framework, ENGR 6194 instructed by Dr. Kajfez from which I learned about the qualitative method, the quantitative method, and the mixed method. Afterward, I took the course Qualitative Research in Higher Education Settings instructed by Dr. Jones, a professional researcher in the Department of Educational Studies at OSU. I accepted systematic and professional training in qualitative research in this course, which benefits me a lot with the effective research method and a kind of sociological thinking.”

True to her hard work ethic, Dr. Zhang continued to support her research and collaborated with her colleagues in China on executing her newly designed syllabus for the fall semester which as reported in their paper, Redesigning an experimentation course with PBL pedagogy to support accreditation in China, submitted to ASEE 2020.

West reading roomWhile visiting Ohio State, Zhang enjoyed spending time in the Thompson Library and the RPAC. You could find her reading and working in the West Reading Room which features large French windows. “I like life at OSU very much because I was focusing on research and self-development, and I did gain a lot what I want, especially I made friends with so many scholars in Engineering Education. I hope I can share something new with all the friends here when we met next time someday.”

Now back at BIT, Dr. Zhang is working on research constructing the practical curriculum system with the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) method to support the engineering education in BIT and the Engineering Education program accreditation in China. She is also conducting research on constructing university-industry cooperation internship platform to improve the problem-solving skills of professional degree master based on PBL mode.


by Aaron D. Kempa, Department of Engineering Education | kempa.9@osu.edu