June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Educational Research and Methods
24.382.1 - 24.382.15
Determining the effect of an engineering overview assignment on first year studentsThe Introduction to Engineering course required for first year Chemical Engineering students inUniversiti Teknologi Malaysia is designed to support students in bridging the gap between learning inschool and university, and to assist them in developing the mindset and fundamental skills in preparingand learning to gain the most in the university to be an engineer in the 21st Century. As part of theeffort to ease students to understand engineering, and to motivate them to see themselves as futureengineers, an engineering overview group assignment was given to them as the first assignment of thesemester, in their second day of class. This assignment also aims to support students in developingteam working, communication and time management skills.The engineering overview assignment is designed based on the How People Learn framework andConstructive Alignment. Students were asked to find out what engineering is and a specific questionrelated to engineering (such as "What is engineering ethics, and why is it necessary?", "What isengineering problem solving", "How to become a professional engineer?", etc.) from the literature, aswell as through interviews with at least two practicing engineers. As part of the deliverables for theassignment, in addition to a short report and presentation, students recorded and edited their interviewwith the engineers to make a short ten-minute video that can help others to understand engineeringand the specific topic that was assigned to the group.To determine the impact of the assignment, a study was conducted in one of the classes, which had 40students, by analyzing the group reports and written individual reflections written after the completionof the assignment. In addition to finding the impact of the assignment, the result is useful forunderstanding students so that they can be taught in a manner that motivate and support them tolearn, and thus improve the way the course is conducted. Thematic analysis technique was used toidentify what the students gained in this assignment. Through the interview with engineers, it was foundthat this is the first time most of the students have met engineers. Many of them have chosen to studyengineering without any real understanding of what engineers do. However, after completing theassignment, they believed that they have chosen the correct path and interviewing engineers hadstrengthened their determination to become engineers. They found out what engineers do, motivatingthem to have the desire to become excellent engineers in the future. The engineers reminded them thatin addition to technical skills, it is also important to learn about sustainable development andengineering ethics as well as other professional skills to be good engineers. Students also reflected thatthe assignment helped them develop communication, time management and team-working skills.Therefore, the simple engineering overview assignment given to the first year students right atbeginning of their study had managed to set the students into the desired mindset of what they shouldprepare themselves for while learning to be future engineers.
Mohd-Yusof, K., & Phang, F. A., & Sadikin, A. N., & Helmi, S. A., & Kamaruddin, M. J. (2014, June), Determining the Effect of an Engineering Overview Assignment on First-Year Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20273
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