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Capstone Design Faculty Motivation: Motivational Factors for Teaching the Capstone Design Course and Motivational Influences on Teaching Approaches

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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

The Best of Design in Engineering

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.283.1 - 25.283.11



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Paper Authors


Cory A. Hixson Virginia Tech

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Cory A. Hixson is a graduate student in engineering education at Virginia Tech. Previous experience is in audio/visual engineering and K-12 math/science education. His research interests are in faculty motivation, entrepreneurship, design education, K-12 engineering/STEM education, and research to practice in engineering education

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Marie C. Paretti Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Marie C. Paretti is an Associate Professor of engineering education at Virginia Tech, where she co-directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC). Her research focuses on communication in engineering design, interdisciplinary communication, and collaboration, and design education. She was awarded a CAREER grant from NSF to study expert teaching practices in capstone design courses nationwide and is Co-PI on several NSF grants to explore identity and interdisciplinary collaboration in engineering design.

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James J. Pembridge Virginia Tech

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Capstone Design Faculty Motivation: Motivational Factors for Teaching the Capstone Design Course and Motivational Influences on Teaching ApproachesCapstone design faculty demonstrate an engagement with the capstone design course notcommonly found in other university courses. This engagement emerges in the form of coaching,protecting, role modeling, and other mentoring functions, as supported by a 2009 national surveyof capstone design faculty and follow-up interviews with over forty capstone faculty. Mentoringfunctions, as opposed to traditional lecture-style teaching, require the faculty member to devoteadditional time, cognitive resources, and energy to planning and implementing the capstonedesign course. Understanding the motivational factors that promote or deter teaching a capstonedesign course and the motivation behind the use of certain pedagogical approaches is critical insupporting the design education community. Such understanding could help support existingcapstone design faculty members’ growth in expertise, create relevant professional developmentresources, and encourage new faculty members/university departments to implement capstonedesign courses.However, little if any work to date explores faculty motivation with respect to design education.To address this gap, this paper analyzes interviews conducted with capstone design faculty toidentify motivational factors that encourage (or discourage) faculty to teach capstone courses, aswell as identify factors that influence implementing (or avoiding) certain teaching approaches incapstone design courses. The interviews include faculty from a wide range of disciplines,institution types, and experience levels to provide a broad perspective on faculty experiences.Through detailed analysis of interviews this paper aims to reveal emerging motivational themesheld by capstone design faculty. The analysis is guided by existing motivational frameworks,including self-efficacy and expectancy-value theories, but also identifies emergent themesgrounded in the data. The findings represent a starting point in the discussion of motivation indesign education as it pertains to capstone design faculty.Beyond the design education community, this paper seeks to shed light onto the broader issue offaculty motivation in engineering education. A better understanding of what motivatesengineering faculty to teach certain courses, as well as use specific instructional techniques willallow the engineering education community to develop relevant professional resources toimprove teaching in all engineering disciplines.

Hixson, C. A., & Paretti, M. C., & Pembridge, J. J. (2012, June), Capstone Design Faculty Motivation: Motivational Factors for Teaching the Capstone Design Course and Motivational Influences on Teaching Approaches Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21041

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