June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
NSF Grantees Poster Session
In 2008, Gannon University was awarded a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, known as SEECS (Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computer Science) which provided scholarship funding for academically talented students having financial need. Since then, the grant has been funded twice more; the current award period started in 2017 and will run until 2021. As a requirement for the SEECS program, all students must participate in a community-based design project, undertaken for a non-profit entity in the local region. This project is nominally a two-year effort, though some projects have taken longer to complete. Recently, a project has experienced several significant setbacks: 1) the original project sponsor decommitted at the end of the first year due to funding concerns; 2) the project location changed four times due to uncertain sponsor requirement and city regulations; 3) the design itself has required substantial alteration several times due to unexpected circumstances (largely due to sponsor issues.) After two and a half years, the project remains only about 50% complete, still requiring additional system level design, installation and testing. This team of SEECS students has been coping with each “sharp turn” of the project as well as may be expected. They have produced design sketches, prototypes, and conference presentations. Yet signs of confusion, frustration, and low motivation level have been observed among students and have been evidenced through student satisfaction surveys, which are administered to all SEECS students each semester. This work-in progress paper details the evolution of student perceptions of the validity of the project, compares that evolution to historic data obtained from previous design groups, and speculates about the cause/effect relationship between externally-imposed design changes and student perceptions. In particular, the effect of design changes on student enthusiasm and sense of purpose is to be examined. Preliminary conclusions and trends will be drawn from the study. The periodic evaluation, adjustment and intervention of advising will be suggested to guide students to fully benefit from such real-life project experience.
Vernaza, K. M., & Tiari, S., & Steinbrink, S., & Zhao, L. (2019, June), Board 152: Effect of Evolving Design Requirements on Students' Motivation Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32270
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