Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/14441
Title: Are engineering students' interests and attitudes to study different from scientists?
Contributor(s): Wilkes, Janelle  (author); Burton, Lorelle (author); Glencross-Grant, Rex  (author)orcid ; Albion, Majella (author)
Publication Date: 2013
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/14441
Abstract: Background: Results presented in this paper are part of a national project aimed to develop strategies to enhance enrolment, progression, and graduation rates in engineering programs. The implementation of these strategies is hoped to help the critical shortages of engineers in Australia. It is well documented that transition to university study can be difficult for students and with increasingly diverse cohorts it is vital that learning and teaching be aimed at a wide audience. In smaller institutions it is commonplace for engineering students to study the same subjects as students enrolled in other courses. It is important to document the similarities and/or differences in learning approaches and motivations of these different cohorts to determine whether accommodations via adaptive teaching strategies are needed. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the interests and motivations to study engineering of first year Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil and Environmental) students with those of applied science students. Design: The project team developed an online battery of self-assessment tests to measure non-cognitive abilities and motivations and interests in studying engineering. A total of 76 first year students at a regional university completed the self-tests. Comparisons between engineering and applied science student profiles allowed the similarities and differences in their respective approaches to learning and career interests to be documented. Results: Analysis of the data showed that engineering students were significantly less likely to be surface learners than their applied science peers (p < .05). Engineering students also showed significantly higher scores than applied science students on the total measure of interest and motivation for studying engineering (p < .01). Conclusions: The self-assessments enabled the first year engineering and applied science students to identify their motivations for studying engineering. They also received feedback on their learning approaches. A follow-up class discussion enabled the students to reflect on the benefits and potential limitations of each learning approach. The importance of conversing with students about how to self-manage their learning and being linked to support to address any identified gaps was discussed in the context of experiencing success in first year studies.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: AAEE 2013: Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Work Integrated Learning - Applying Theory to Practice in Engineering Education, Gold Coast, Australia, 8th - 11th December, 2013
Conference Details: AAEE 2013: Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Work Integrated Learning - Applying Theory to Practice in Engineering Education, Gold Coast, Australia, 8th - 11th December, 2013
Source of Publication: Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Engineering Educators (AAEE 2013), p. 1-8
Publisher: Griffith University
Place of Publication: Gold Coast, Australia
Field of Research (FOR): 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
130103 Higher Education
130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
Other Links: http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au//australasian-association-engineering-education/2013-annual-conference
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Appears in Collections:Conference Publication
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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