• Research Project

What We Do

WISEngineering is a free online learning environment that guides students through engineering design projects. WISEngineering allows any interested student to engage in rich design-based projects that provide real-world applications and relevance to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses.

Students collaborate as they brainstorm ideas, create and test solutions, refine and retest their designs, and critique and share their projects. WISEngineering enables students to learn relevant concepts and skills in a just-in-time manner, and provides teachers and students with feedback and assessment results about student learning.

WISEngineering is a collaborative project with UVA, Hofstra University, the City University of New York (CUNY) and the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). WISEngineering leverages the open-source Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE) from the University of California, Berkeley.


Each WISEngineering project targets specific national and state standards in math and science and can be used to replace instruction on STEM concepts. WISEngineering employs an informed engineering design and knowledge integration pedagogy, which facilitates learning through understanding and applying relevant knowledge and skills, as opposed to trial-and-error design. Each project guides students to create solutions to open-ended engineering design problems that require students to apply specified STEM concepts and skills. Students engage in evaluating, revising, and reflecting upon their solutions through their design journals and portfolios.

STEM Engagement

By making STEM concepts relevant and useful through design projects, WISEngineering seeks to increase interest and engagement in STEM courses and careers. WISEngineering makes it possible for students in rural Virginia to design and build one component of a system, collaborate with students in urban New York on another component of a system, and then jointly design a comprehensive solution. A homeschooled child in California can to work together on the same project team as a child in Maine.

Teacher Tools

WISEnginering provides a tested platform that allows teachers to virtually interact with students, provides opportunities for feedback, and allows teachers to monitor student work using a set of teacher tools. Teachers can grade student work, focusing on either an entire project or a particular step in the task. The class dashboard allows teachers to view progress of an individual, a group of students, or an entire class. If teachers see particularly interesting work from certain students, they can check a box to anonymously flag the work and put it up on a class screen. Teacher guides to each project, including webcasts and videos, are also provided.

Project Team

Jennifer Chiu

Jennifer Chiu

  • Associate Professor

Related Lab

  • Research Lab

Engineering Design Initiative

The Engineering Design Initiative aims to foster advanced and innovative performance across a range of subjects by integrating engineering design into K-12 classrooms. 

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