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Effect of Demographics on the Spatial Visualization Skills in 2D and 3D Course Offerings

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 3: Spatial Visualization

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Jorge Rodriguez P.E. Western Michigan University

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Faculty member in the Department of Engineering Design, Manufacturing, and Management Systems (EDMMS) at Western Michigan University's (WMU). Co-Director of the Center for Integrated Design (CID), and currently the college representative to the President’s University-wide Sustainability Committee at WMU. Received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering-Design from University of Wisconsin-Madison and received an MBA from Rutgers University. His B.S. degree was in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Monterrey Tech (ITESM-Monterrey Campus). Teaches courses in CAD/CAE, Mechanical Design, Finite Element Method and Optimization. His interest are in the area of product development, topology optimization, additive manufacturing, sustainable design, and biomechanics.

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Luis Genaro Rodriguez University of Wisconsin, Waukesha

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Faculty member in the Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin - Waukesha. Received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering - Design from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. His B.S. degree is in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from ITESM - Monterrey. Teaches courses in the areas of Engineering Graphics, Mechanics and Numerical Methods. His interest are in the area of pedagogical methodology in CAD/CAE and Mechanics.

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This paper will report on the effect of several demographic parameters in the development of spatial visualization skills on two different graphics courses at two different institutions. The demographic data is based on gender, race, previous CAD experience, and age; and the two offerings are a hybrid approach (2D and 3D) and a solid modeling approach (3D only), both required courses in second year engineering curriculum. The comparison utilizes visualization tests results as indicators of spatial skills, specifically results from PSVT:R, MCT, and MRT that have already been identified as having significant differences based in the content approach (i.e., 2D vs 3D). The concept of spatial visualization has received significant attention from practitioners and researchers in the community. Spatial visualization skills have been often linked to mental capabilities that indicate likeliness or aptitude to perform certain tasks or professions. Similarly, there are numerous reports on exercises that focus on developing, evaluating, and improving visualization skills, both, for development of imagination and creativity, as well as development of competencies directly related to technical fields such as engineering graphics and design. The latter fields are linked to STEM education, and there are test such as the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test - Rotations PSVT:R (Guay, 1977), the Mental Cutting Test (MCT) (Sorby, 1999) and Vandenberg’s Mental Rotation Test (MRT) (Shepard, 1971; Vandenberg, 1978). The objective of this study is to further compare the two different offerings, with the combined data from test results collected during two offerings of the courses. The first offering collected data with the PSVT:R test, and the second offering collected data with the three test aforementioned. Previous analysis indicated no significant difference in visualization skills between the two approaches when only the PSVT:R test was administered. Independent results from the second offering indicate some significant differences with some of the tests, with no general improvement in scores. It is expected that demographical analysis, as well as combined results analysis, will provide some insight on particular correlations between results.

Rodriguez, J., & Rodriguez, L. G. (2017, June), Effect of Demographics on the Spatial Visualization Skills in 2D and 3D Course Offerings Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28204

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