June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Design in Engineering Education
14.476.1 - 14.476.16
Development of an Evaluation for Assessing Student Practices, Independence, and Responsibility in Design Courses Abstract
Design courses are challenging for both students and educators. Students grapple with the open- ended nature of typical design problems, the sustained team efforts required to complete a large project with appropriate documentation, and the need to teach themselves new things in order to complete their objectives. Design instructors balance providing assistance to students with allowing students to direct the design process and make (and learn from) mistakes. As successful design courses and course sequences progress, students increasingly function as professionals, make decisions and deal with the consequences more independently, and assume greater responsibility for their learning and for the quality of their design and product.
Instructors routinely assess the quality of student design products, but less frequently obtain (non-anecdotal) information about the development of professional practices and attitudes within the student cohort. Traditional end-of-term course and teaching evaluations tend to be very instructor-centric, giving the impression that the instructor is solely responsible for creating the learning environment and the quality of student learning. Compared to traditional engineering courses, the learning that occurs in design courses is more dependent on student actions and attitudes.
We have developed a supplemental evaluation for use in design courses. Our assessment instrument provides information about the prevalence of specific professional practices and the development of student attitudes – information not typically available via traditional course evaluations. During the 2006-2007 academic year we administered a supplemental evaluation to two cohorts of engineering design students. Student ratings of overall instructional quality were correlated to ratings of their overall learning, and also to assuming more responsibility for decisions and actions as the course progressed. In this paper we present the results of revising this supplemental evaluation and administering it to a new longitudinal student cohort of biomedical engineers during the 2007-2008 academic year. Correlational analysis of the student responses revealed three themes that appear to have a major role in shaping student attitudes toward the overall design experience: attitudes regarding the transition from student to professional; varied academic hardiness characteristics that would influence efforts and attitudes toward the completion of an open-ended senior design project; and perceived work efforts (by both the individual and the team) and the quality of learning in senior design. Overall the results provide motivation for design instructors to consider helping their students manage stress in appropriate ways, to reinforce the idea that the design experience is a key opportunity to transition to professional work habits, and to encourage students to reflect on their experiences and their learning. These attributes were correlated with better overall ratings of learning and instruction.
Rogge, R., & Dee, K. C., & Livesay, G. (2009, June), Development Of An Evaluation For Assessing Student Practices, Independence, And Responsibility In Design Courses Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5626
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