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Developing an instrument to assess student’s prior knowledge and possible interest in public policy courses

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy I

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.391.1 - 23.391.9



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Paper Authors


John Alexander Mendoza-Garcia Purdue University / Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Orcid 16x16

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John Mendoza-Garcia is a Ph.D. student and a research assistant in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He worked for industry seven years and then became an academic. He has been a professor of the Department of Systems Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia since 2005. He is interested in understanding the development of systems thinking, and the development of student's interest in social issues.

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Developing an assessment tool to determine student’s perception and possible interest in PublicPolicy.Discussions about introducing Public policy to engineering students have become more important incurriculum design, especially since the 2004 publication of the National Academy of Engineering report:The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. One of the primary concerns was thatsince technology is pervading every aspect of our life, it is crucial that engineers, who have a greatunderstanding of these technologies, become involved in its regulation. This study reports on a projectundertaken at a large mid-western university, to integrate public policy in the engineering curriculum.This project used Fink’s four-component-model of curricular design which require the consideration of:situational factors, learning goals, teaching and learning activities, and feedback and assessment. Theintegration of these components is crucial to succeed in curriculum design according to Fink. In order toachieve this integration, the research team gathered data on a number of situational factors related tothe learners through the use of a survey. This survey was used to determine the current level ofengineering students’ interest and knowledge about the interaction between engineering and publicpolicy, and included questions on student ideas regards prior and future interest or participation inpublic policy. This paper will describe how the survey was designed including piloting the questions andobtaining institutional board approval as well as, administering the survey. This paper will also report onthe determination of the survey’s validity and reliability. These findings will be used to frame adiscussion around the following question: How ready are we to conduct rigorous research related to theimpact and the relationship of Public Policy and engineering? Additionally, what are the importantfactors at play that give us information regarding student interest and prior knowledge on this topic?Answering these questions will be helpful in developing programs, courses or modules in Public Policythat engage future engineers with this important activity.

Mendoza-Garcia, J. A. (2013, June), Developing an instrument to assess student’s prior knowledge and possible interest in public policy courses Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19405

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