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Assessing Changes In Student Attitudes And Knowledge In An Engineering For Educators Class

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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

Collaborations Between Engineering/Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.226.1 - 10.226.15



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Paper Authors

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William Jordan

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Laura Wesson

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Bill Elmore

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Norm Pumphrey

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

Assessing Changes in Student Attitudes and Knowledge in an Engineering for Educators Class William Jordan, Bill Elmore, Kelly Crittenden, Laura Wesson, and Norm Pumphrey College of Engineering and Science Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA 71272


The authors have created and taught for the past five years a course in Engineering Problem Solving for Future Teachers. This is taught to pre-service teachers as a physical science course. Most of them take it during their sophomore year. While it is open to all education majors, most of the students will eventually teach in elementary or middle schools.

The authors have previously reported on the nature of the course1. It has a significant hands-on laboratory component2. Each year during the course the authors survey the students’ attitudes toward engineering science at the beginning of the course and at the end of the course. In the spring 2004 offering of the course the authors made some significant changes to the course content. It was originally taught using materials engineering and chemistry as the main content areas. This time it was team taught, with five different engineering faculty taking turns leading the students in different topical areas. The students were given pretests and posttests of engineering science content. This paper reports on the changes in student attitudes and abilities that were observed as they took the course.

Student attitudes towards engineering science were taken through the use of a 20 question survey. Students were presented with statements and had to answer on a 6 point scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (6). Significant changes in attitude were found in several areas when the end of class results are compared to the beginning of class results. • Students are more likely to believe that basic engineering concepts are understandable to the average person. • Students are less intimidated by engineering professors. • Students are more likely to integrate engineering concepts into their future classes. • Students are confident they can integrate problem solving techniques into their future classes.

We examined the students gain in content knowledge in six topical areas: • Materials science • Fatigue and statistics • Structures • Behavior of fluids (particularly Archimedes principle and the nature of colloids) • Highway engineering • Rocketry

Dramatic gains in knowledge were shown in the fatigue/statistics, fluids, and highway

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Jordan, W., & Wesson, L., & Elmore, B., & Pumphrey, N., & Crittenden, K. (2005, June), Assessing Changes In Student Attitudes And Knowledge In An Engineering For Educators Class Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14190

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