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Evaluating The Motivational And Learning Potential Of An Instructional Practice For Use With First Year Engineering Students

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Research on The First Year II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.533.1 - 15.533.10



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Paper Authors

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Odesma Dalrymple ASU Polytechnic

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David Sears Purdue University

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Demetra Evangelou Purdue University

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

Evaluating the Motivational and Learning Potential of an Instructional Practice for use with First Year Engineering Students Abstract

An experiment was conducted within a first-year engineering laboratory to provide empirical evidence to support the pedagogical viability of Disassemble/Analyze/Assemble (DAA) activities, such as Reverse Engineering and Product Dissection, in engineering education. The outcome of the laboratory indicated that the knowledge learned as a result of engaging in DAA activities can be transferred to design tasks. Following an activity that required students to take apart a one-time use camera and analyze its components to discover how it works, 43% of the students were able to describe an approach for modifying the camera that involved the adaptation of a current mechanism. In addition, the results of the post-laboratory survey indicate that the DAA activity elicited high levels of motivation.


The insightful findings from Seymour and Hewitt1 about the causes for discontentment among persisters and switchers in science, engineering and math (SEM) disciplines have provided a starting point for addressing issues related to persistence in engineering. Criticisms of pedagogical effectiveness, assessment, and curricular structure accounted for 36.1% of all switching decisions. Students strongly believed that faculty did not like to teach, did not value teaching as a professional activity, and valued their research above teaching. Some of the specific attributes of poor instruction, as identified by students in the Seymour and Hewitt study, were ill prepared and dull presentations, predominant use of one-way lectures, lack of discussion, assessments focused on rote memory, faculty reading directly from textbooks, and no indicated application or implication of material. There is an undeniable need to identify and implement pedagogical practices that motivate students as well as facilitate learning. This is particularly relevant in first-year courses where introductory material is taught and students are most likely to switch due to discontentment. This study responds to the aforementioned charge by experimentally investigating the pedagogical viability of Disassemble/Analyze/Assemble (DAA) activities such as Reverse Engineering and Product Dissection.

Disassemble/Analyze/Assemble (DAA) Activities

Ogot and Kremer2 lyze/Assemble (DAA) activities. Based on a prominent industry practice, these discovery based activities involve the systematic disassembly of an artifact, the subsequent analysis and possible reassembly of its components for the purpose of understanding the physical, technological and developmental principles of the artifact. DAA activities have been successfully utilized in engineering learning environments, and their value as pedagogical tools is primarily supported by reviews from professors and students3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Enhanced understanding of engineering artifacts, exposure to the vocabulary of engineering systems, awareness of design processes, interest in learning about engineering in the future and improved ability to make connections between theoretical concepts and real-world hardware, are some of the learning outcomes attributed to DAA activities8, 9, 3, 10, 6, 11, 4, 5, 2, 12, 7. In

Dalrymple, O., & Sears, D., & Evangelou, D. (2010, June), Evaluating The Motivational And Learning Potential Of An Instructional Practice For Use With First Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16849

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