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Developing Metacognitive Engineering Teams

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Teamwork & Assessment in the Classroom

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.406.1 - 8.406.9



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Paper Authors

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James Newell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3613

Developing Metacognitive Engineering Teams

James Newell, Kevin Dahm, Roberta Harvey, Kathryn Hollar and Heidi Newell Department of Chemical Engineering Rowan University Glassboro, NJ 08028

Background and Pedagogical Theory Increasing numbers of college students believe that the most important outcome of college is economic gain [1]. Many engineering educators reinforce this belief by arguing that the undergraduate engineering curriculum provides credentialing that leads to higher paying jobs and develops enhanced cognitive skills that prepare the student to perform that job [2]. While this viewpoint has merit, it ignores more significant benefits of the higher education process.

Behavioral scientists classify performance into cognitive and affective domains [2]. The cognitive domain includes higher order thought processes such as logic and reasoning and is the primary (and in many cases, the only) target of engineering curricula. Affective issues include attitudes, values, and self-concept. These attributes typically cannot be measured directly through exams and other classroom instruments, yet they are essential components of the overall developmental process.

ABET itself recognizes the importance of the affective domain by including criteria such as “engages in lifelong learning,” “understands the impact that engineering has on society,” and “communicates effectively” in their assessment of engineering programs [3]. Besterfield-Sacre et al. observe that students’ attitudes about engineering and their abilities change throughout their education and influence motivation, self-confidence, perception of engineering, performance, and retention [4]. The same group also found that attitudes toward engineering directly related to retention during the freshman year [5]. Seymour and Hewitt [6] examined students who left engineering programs and found that they were not academically different than their peers who continued in the program and that their retention was better correlated with attitude than with academics. For many students, college challenges their level of motivation and the academic aptitude for the first time, but too often provides them with little or no help in identifying and overcoming the barriers to their learning.

The Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education states “there is now a good deal of research evidence to suggest that the more time and effort students invest in the learning process and the more intensely they engage in their own education, the greater will be their satisfaction with their educational experiences, their persistence in college, and the more likely they are to continue their learning” [7]. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that an effective student must be both self-aware and self-directed, yet these issues are often ignored completely by

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright© 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Newell, J. (2003, June), Developing Metacognitive Engineering Teams Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12296

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