New Orleans, Louisiana
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
Diversity and International Forum
The Royal Academy of Engineering  identified six main types of cognitive abilities that engineering students need to develop. They included systems thinking, problem-finding, visualizing, improving, creative problem-solving and adaptability . All these thinking skills require the understanding of multiple views and the application of knowledge. However, most engineering students start their first year undergraduate studies believing that the right answer is either at the back of the book or what the teacher expects for an oral or written answer in the classroom or in a test. This kind of thinking is very dualistic and was already identified as the starting point for most undergraduates in the 1970s by Perry  in his model of intellectual development. While the students’ notion is partially true, there are also tasks, tests and assignments of a more exploratory nature, which require handling multiple views on issues, with no one right answer or solution. One such task is understanding and application of the engineering design process. Undergraduate engineering students frequently struggle with this, as it is very hard for them to understand that there is not necessarily only one correct solution. Perry’s model  of intellectual development also has parallels with the revised Bloom’s taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002). In order to investigate see whether the students’ thinking skills develop between their Freshman and Sophomore years in an English-medium engineering college in the Middle East, a survey based on Schraw  was implemented to Freshman students on an introductory course to engineering and to Sophomore students studying the basics of engineering design. The aim was to see whether understanding and applying the engineering design process enhanced the students’ ability to adopt more multiple views of thinking.
 Royal Academy of Engineering. (2014). “Thinking like an engineer: implications for the education system.” London: Royal Academy of Engineering.  William Perry. (1981). "Cognitive and Ethical Growth: The Making of Meaning", in Arthur W.Chickering and Associates, The Modern American College (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass): 76-116.  D. R. Krathwohl, (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into practice, 41(4), 212-218.  Schraw, G., Bendixen, L. D., & Dunkle, M. (2002). Development and validation of the epistemic beliefs inventory. In B. K. Hofer & P. R. Pintrich (Eds.), Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing (pp. 261-275). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Mohammed, J., & Hatakka, M. R. H. (2016, June), Enhancing Multiple Thinking through the Engineering Design Process Paper presented at 2016 ASEE International Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana. https://www.jee.org/27243
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