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Examining the Differences in Student Motivation for Industry Projects and Non-Industry Projects in Senior Capstone Design

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division: Student Empathy & Human-centered Design

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Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Devanshi Shah Florida Institute of Technology

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I am a graduate student pursuing M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology with specialization in Structures, Solid Mechanics and Materials. I graduated with B.E. in Mechanical Engineering in India in May 2016. My research is focused on Student's Motivation in Engineering under the advisement of Dr. Beshoy Morkos.

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Elisabeth Kames Florida Institute of Technology

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Elisabeth Kames is a graduate student working on her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the impact of motivation on performance and persistence in mechanical engineering design courses under the guidance of Dr. Beshoy Morkos. She also serves as a graduate student advisor to senior design teams within the mechanical engineering department. Elisabeth is a member of ASME, ASEE, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and Pi Tau Sigma International Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.

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McKenzie Carol Clark Florida Institute of Technology


Beshoy Morkos Florida Institute of Technology

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Beshoy Morkos is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology where he directs the STRIDE Lab (SysTems Research on Intelligent Design and Engineering). His engineering design research focuses on developing computational representation and reasoning support for managing complex system design. The goal of Dr. Morkos’ research is to fundamentally reframe our understanding and utilization of system representations and computational reasoning capabilities to support the development of system models which help engineers and project planners intelligently make informed decisions at earlier stages of engineering design. On the engineering education front, Dr. Morkos’ research explores means to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering education through entrepreneurially-minded learning, improve persistence in engineering, address challenges in senior design education, and promote engineering education in international teams and settings. Dr. Morkos’ research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), and NASA JPL.
Dr. Morkos received his Ph.D. from Clemson University in the Clemson Engineering Design and Applications Research (CEDAR) lab under Dr. Joshua Summers. In 2014, he was awarded the ASME CIE Dissertation of the year award for his doctoral research. He graduated with his B.S. and M.S in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 and 2008 from Clemson University and has worked on multiple sponsored projects funded by partners such as NASA, Michelin, and BMW. His past work experience include working at the BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) as a Research Associate and Robert Bosch Corporation as a Manufacturing Engineer. Dr. Morkos was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University performing NSF funded research on engineering student motivation and its effects on persistence and the use of advanced technology in engineering classroom environments. Dr. Morkos’ research thrust include: design automation, design representations, computational reasoning, systems modeling, engineering education, design education, collaborative design, and data/knowledge management.

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This paper examines the change in student motivation through a yearlong senior capstone design course with respect to their choice of project type. The senior capstone design projects offered at the university fall into one of two major project types: industry sponsored and non-industry sponsored. Industry-sponsored projects are provided through industry partnerships and include government funded and privately funded. Non-industry projects at the university include competition based projects, such as SAE Formula and SAE Baja; and humanitarian based projects. The students opt for either of the two major project types based on their interest and future career goals.

The students were given an adapted version of Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) to self-identify their motivation levels by rating various questions on a 7-point Likert scale. The surveys were conducted at two different points in time throughout the yearlong senior capstone design course: at beginning of the fall semester, two weeks into the school year when the students were not fully introduced to their project topics; and again at the end of the spring semester after their projects were completed and the senior capstone design course was concluding. Five motivation factors were studied to examine student motivation within and between the cohorts: cognitive value, self-regulation, presentation anxiety, intrinsic value, and self-efficacy. The data was collected from three cohorts of mechanical engineering senior capstone design students, through three different yearlong senior capstone courses: 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2016-2017. The data was analyzed using an ANOVA Single Factor analysis and a t-test for single variance to examine which factors affected student motivation.

The goal of this research is to examine the effect of the student’s choice of project type on their motivation and changes in motivation in senior capstone design. This will thereby provide educators with insight on the impact of the student’s project selection on their senior capstone design experience. Thus, this research aims to revolutionize the senior capstone design curriculum by catering the project offerings that positively impact the student’s experience, increasing their motivation and improving their performance in the course.

The results indicate that students working on industry-sponsored design projects exhibit increased motivation throughout the course of the year versus their non-industry counterparts. However, the non-industry project groups typically had higher motivation levels entering into the senior capstone design experience than the industry-sponsored project teams.

Shah, D., & Kames, E., & Clark, M. C., & Morkos, B. (2019, June), Examining the Differences in Student Motivation for Industry Projects and Non-Industry Projects in Senior Capstone Design Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32781

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