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Are Attitudes Toward Engineering Influenced By A Project Based Introductory Course?

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.217.1 - 10.217.14



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Paper Authors

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Samuel Daniels

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Ismail Orabi

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Jean Nocito-Gobel

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Michael Collura

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Are Attitudes Toward Engineering Influenced by a Project-Based Introductory Course?

Jean Nocito-Gobel, Michael A. Collura, Samuel Daniels, Ismail I. Orabi School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of New Haven


Like most engineering schools, the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of New Haven (UNH) offers a first year Introduction to Engineering course (EAS107). Unlike similar courses at most other schools, however, EAS107 is also part of the UNH core curriculum and is taken by many students who are not studying engineering, thus providing an opportunity to influence these students’ perception of engineering.

As part of a new curricular model for our engineering students, the Multi-Disciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral, this course has been transformed from a traditional delivery mode to a project-based format. One of the primary objectives of changing the course is to improve retention of engineering students by giving them the opportunity to do hands-on engineering activities during their first semester. There is concern, however, about how the non- engineering students will respond to the new format.

During the fall 2003 semester we offered 2 sections of EAS107 in the project format - one with only engineering freshmen and one with a mix of students from various majors. In addition, four other sections of EAS107 were offered using the traditional delivery mode. During the fall 2004 semester we offered 3 sections of EAS107 in the project format with a mix of students from engineering and other majors, and 3 sections using the traditional delivery mode consisting entirely of other majors. Student perceptions of the engineering profession and of their preparation to study this field were assessed at the beginning and at the end of the course using a survey instrument.

This paper presents results of the survey in an attempt to answer the following questions:

Does a misconception about engineering lead some students to select other majors? How are engineering students` attitudes affected by a project-based introductory course? What is the effect of a heterogeneous class on student attitudes? What are the primary influences in students’ choice of a major?

Initial attitudes are examined to determine differences by gender, age and major. Changes in attitudes are tracked with regard to course delivery mode and mix of students in the class.


The University of New Haven (UNH) in 2003 embarked on a major reform of their undergraduate curriculum, resulting in the development of a new curricular approach referred to

Daniels, S., & Orabi, I., & Nocito-Gobel, J., & Collura, M. (2005, June), Are Attitudes Toward Engineering Influenced By A Project Based Introductory Course? Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14704

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