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An Initial Exploration of Engineering Students’ Emotive Responses to Spatial and Engineering Statics Problems

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Idalis Villanueva Utah State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Villanueva is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Education Department and an Adjunct Professor in the Bioengineering Department in Utah State University. Her multiple roles as an engineer, engineering educator, engineering educational researcher, and professional development mentor for underrepresented populations has aided her in the design and integration of educational and physiological technologies to research 'best practices' for student professional development and training. In addition, she is developing methodologies around hidden curriculum, academic emotions and physiology, and engineering makerspaces.

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Wade H. Goodridge Utah State University

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Wade Goodridge is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University. He holds dual B.S. degrees in Industrial Technology Education and Civil and Environmental Engineering. His M.S. and Ph.D. are in Civil Engineering. Wade has over 15 years of teaching experience primarily focused at the University level but also including 2+ years of teaching in high schools. Dr. Goodridge’s current research interests include spatial thinking, creativity, effective pedagogy/andragogy in engineering education and professional development for 9-12 grade science faculty designated to teach engineering. His research revolves around developing and validating curricular methods to improve engineering education in informal, traditional, distance, and professional environments. Dr. Goodridge currently teaches courses in “Teaching, Learning, and Assessment in Engineering Education” and “Engineering Mechanics: Statics.” Dr. Goodridge is an engineering councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and serves on ASEE’s project board. Dr. Goodridge actively consults for projects including the development of an online curriculum style guide for Siemens software instruction, development of engineering activities for blind and visually impaired youth, and the implementation and investigation of a framework of engineering content to incorporate into P-12 engineering education.

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Benjamin James Call Utah State University - Engineering Education

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Benjamin Call graduated with his Masters of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace Emphasis) in 2006 from Utah State University. After eight years with NAVAIR, he has returned to pursue a PhD in Engineering Education. He is funded by the Presidential Doctoral Research Fellowship. His research interests range from sophomore-level engineering curricula to spatial ability and creativity to student entrepreneurship.

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The goal of this Work-in-Progress study is to explore the emotive responses of seven engineering students as they worked on spatial and engineering statics problems. The research team used multi-modal approaches that combined the validated Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) scale with an electrodermal wrist sensor that students wore as they solved the problems.

The electrodermal sensor measured participants’ electrical skin conductivity and events were timestamped and normalized to participants’ baseline electrodermal readings. These values were correlated to self-reported emotion before and after participants solved each problem set. Also, using the PANAS scale, emotion and its potential correlation to performance in rotations (Purdue Spatial Visualization Tool Revised-PSVT: R) and sectioned surface visualization (Mental Cutting Test-MCT) were explored. Preliminary findings suggest that the time spent as well as the difficulty of the problems influenced the magnitude of physiological arousal students experienced in the exam. Recording and analyzing such physiological arousal opens a door to an alternative method of investigating student performance to different engineering problems-sets. Extensions of this work in the future can help inform engineering educators on how certain problem-types can be more or less conducive to emotional responses that may deter or encourage student learning and performance.

Villanueva, I., & Goodridge, W. H., & Call, B. J. (2018, June), An Initial Exploration of Engineering Students’ Emotive Responses to Spatial and Engineering Statics Problems Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29789

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