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Building Self-efficacy and Interest in Engineering Through Design

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Methodologies 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Vicki V. May P.E. Dartmouth College

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Vicki V. May, Ph.D., P.E. is an Instructional Professor of Engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. Her research focuses on engineering education and K-12 outreach. She teaches courses in solid mechanics, structural analysis, and design. Prior to relocating to the east coast, Professor May was an Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

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Ryan Michael Chapman Dartmouth College

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An NSF study that was completed in 2007 entitled Investigating the Gender Component in Engineering [1] studied factors that promote interest in engineering among undergraduate women at several institutions, including at Dartmouth. Elements of the culture and courses at Dartmouth that were identified by Craemer’s study [1] to promote interest in engineering among undergraduate students who identify as women included the use of a collaborative problem-solving approach, flexibility in the curriculum, focus on real-world problems with social significance, and the interdisciplinary nature of projects. Craemer [1] identified Introduction to Engineering as a pivotal course in the curriculum at Dartmouth for generating interest among students, especially those who identify as women.

Building on the study by Craemer [1], faculty teaching Introduction to Engineering have administered pre- and post-course surveys to further assess students’ interests and self-efficacy related to engineering, among all students but among those who identify as women in particular. Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief that they can do certain things [2], in this case the belief that they can succeed in engineering. Results of these surveys as well as a description of the course and of the projects and problems addressed by student groups are presented.

The following research questions are explored in this paper: • Does students’ interest and self-efficacy in engineering change after taking Introduction to Engineering? • Does interest and self-efficacy vary by gender? • What types problems and projects do students identify and work on in the course?

[1] Craemer, Elizabeth (2007). Report to Dartmouth. Investigating the Gender Component in Engineering. NSF Grant GSE 0522767.

May, V. V., & Chapman, R. M. (2021, July), Building Self-efficacy and Interest in Engineering Through Design Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36770

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