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Becoming an Engineer: Assessing the Impact of a Short Workshop on Incoming Engineering Students’ Understanding of Engineering Design

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Design in Freshman and Sophomore Courses

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.250.1 - 25.250.15



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Paper Authors


Gail Hohner University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Gail Hohner is Managing Director, Multidisciplinary Design Program, College of Engineering, Univeristy of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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Shanna R. Daly University of Michigan Orcid 16x16

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Shanna R. Daly is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan in Engineering Education, earning her
doctorate from Purdue University’s Engineering Education program in 2008. Her research focuses on the investigation
and application of complex professional skills, specifically design ideation, innovation practices, and creative processes
within engineering, outside of engineering, and cross disciplinarily. Her research includes an emphasis on the translation of
research to practice in the form of pedagogy, curriculum development, and faculty support and programming in
implementing evidence-based best practices in teaching and learning.

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Jennifer Wegner University of Michigan


Moses K. Lee University of Michigan

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Moses Lee is Assistant Director and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. In his roles, Lee directs TechArb, the student startup accelerator, and teaches the entrepreneurship practicum course.

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Amy Frances Goldstein University of Michigan

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Amy Goldstein is the Academic Programs Assistant at the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE). Prior to joining the CFE, she lived in Argentina and New Zealand, where she worked at (Buenos Aires) and Vodafone (Auckland). She holds a B.A. in economics and international relations from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Becoming an Engineer: Assessing the impact of a short workshop on incoming engineering students’ understanding of engineering designEngineering students begin their education with varying understanding of the engineering designprocess. Effective engineering education will require us to understand how students developboth skills and a concept of engineering design. At a large Midwestern pubic university wecompare 100 students’ initial conceptions in design and response to design tasks both before andafter a 2-day, peer mentor led, design activity workshop which preceded the beginning of thefreshman year in engineering. During the workshop students were led through two fun designactivities one focusing on idea generation and customer requirements the second focusing on adesign, build and test activity; in addition there were faculty talks and discussions led by peermentors. We also compare 35 incoming students who did not participate in the workshop. Thisworkshop is the initial activity in an undergraduate multidisciplinary design program whichincludes many co-curricular enrichment activities as well as an academic minor. We intend tostudy this group of students through their engineering education and evaluate them periodically.We use both the self-efficacy survey from Carberry, Lee and Ohland (Measuring EngineeringDesign Self-Efficacy) as well as the concepts in design survey from Oehlberg and Agogino(Undergraduate Conceptions of the Engineering Design Process: assessing the Impact of aHuman-Centered Desgin Course – which is an extension of Mosborg S.,, Conceptions ofthe Engineering Design Process: An Expert Study of Advanced Practicing Professionals)extending them to a the incoming university student population.We consider how students’ concept of design changes pre and post workshop and compare themwith the results of upperclassmen from Oehlberg and Agogino and with practicing engineers inMosborg. Generally students undervalued concepts related to generating alternative ideas aswell as identifying hard constraints of the system compared with practicing engineers. The postworkshop responses showed limited change from pre-workshop responses. Workshop studentsmost closely resemble the Intermediate group (engineering students) of Carberry, Lee andOhland in terms of self-efficacy and the High group (engineering professors and professionals)for motivation, expectancy and anxiety.We plan to follow this group of students through their first year of engineering and re-evaluatenear the end of the academic year.

Hohner, G., & Daly, S. R., & Wegner, J., & Lee, M. K., & Goldstein, A. F. (2012, June), Becoming an Engineer: Assessing the Impact of a Short Workshop on Incoming Engineering Students’ Understanding of Engineering Design Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21010

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