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Evaluating Student Conceptions of Technology Majors: Development of Assessment Keyword Tables

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

STEM Issues in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Matthew Turner Purdue University, New Albany

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Dr. Matthew Turner is an Associate Professor of ECET at Purdue University New Albany where he teaches courses in power systems and controls. Prior to joining the faculty at Purdue, Professor Turner worked as a researcher at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research in the area of power and energy systems, with a focus on smart grid implementation and computer modeling. Dr. Turner's current research concentrates on demand response technologies and the application of novel teaching and learning methods to power engineering education.

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Rustin Webster Purdue University, New Albany

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Dr. Rustin Webster is an assistant professor in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University and specializes in mechanical engineering and computer graphics technology. Dr. Webster’s industry experience includes time as a contractor for the Department of Defense as an engineer, project manager, and researcher. He holds a B.S. in Engineering Graphics and Design and a M.S. in Management of Technology from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Webster has received various professional certifications from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SOLIDWORKS, and the Project Management Institute. His research interests include engineering technology outreach and design education with focus areas in CAD and project-based learning.

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This paper presents the continuation of research on student conceptions related to technology majors (TMs) and careers using the Aspirations, Interests, and Confidence (AIC) survey. For four years, first-semester students at Purdue New Albany, a statewide location for the Purdue Polytechnic, were surveyed in order understand their conceptions of TMs and job titles they associate with them. Prior work reported on dominate terms used by students to describe TM and careers including: Computer Graphics Technology (CGT), Electrical Engineering Technology (EET), Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET), and Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MHET). This paper presents the results of an online survey that asked subject matter experts (SMEs) to form benchmark definitions for the aforementioned TMs. Qualitative data from the responses (i.e. structured survey text) was analyzed using NVivo® to identify themes, patterns, and dominate terminology. The data was combined with information from ABET accreditation documentation and a collaboratively edited online knowledge base to form tables of subject, action, and application keywords. These tables provide an empirical database that will enable future evaluation of collected student definitions for accuracy. By better understanding student understanding of TMs, the authors hope to provide a resource by which the educational community can improve their messaging and better communicate the role and value of technology degrees to stakeholders (i.e. students, parents, industry, etc.).

Turner, M., & Webster, R. (2020, June), Evaluating Student Conceptions of Technology Majors: Development of Assessment Keyword Tables Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34595

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