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Exploring Differences in Senior and Sophomore Engineering Students’ Mental Models of Common Products

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division: Design Mental Frameworks

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32804

Download Count

3

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Paper Authors

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Francis Jacob Fish Georgia Institute of Technology

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Francis Fish is a current Ph.D. student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned his Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering and MBA at the University of Delaware, in 2016 and 2017, where he conducted research for DARPA and ARL funded projects as well as private industry projects. From 2016 to 2018 he worked as a Nuclear Engineer for NAVSEA.

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Alexander R. Murphy Georgia Institute of Technology

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Alexander Murphy is a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student at the Georgia Institute of Technology conducting research on design theory and engineering education. He received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in creative writing from the University of South Florida. Alexander is excited to have received an NSF GRFP Fellowship for research in STEM Education and Learning Science. His research has focused on functional modeling and mental models in order to understand how engineering students develop systems thinking skills. He is also a musician and teaches marching percussion (specifically the marimba and vibraphone) to high school students. After completing his graduate degree, he wants to become academic faculty and start a business as a design consultant.

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Henry David Banks James Madison University

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Melissa Wood Aleman James Madison University

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Dr. Melissa Aleman (Ph.D. University of Iowa) is Professor of Communication Studies at James Madison University and has published research using qualitative interviewing, ethnographic and rhetorical methods to examine communication in diverse contexts. She is particularly interested in multidisciplinary studies of communication, culture, and learning in makerspaces, as well as broadening participation of women and underrepresented minority students and faculty in STEM fields.

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Matt Robert Bohm Florida Polytechnic University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-9598-633X

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Matt Bohm is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly). He joined the University in 2016 after spending 6-years as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Louisville (UofL). Bohm’s research examines the intersection of 3 distinct areas, engineering design, engineering education, and big data. Currently, Bohm has an active NSF grant under the Division of Undergraduate Education to examine the effects of systems modeling paradigms with respect to design outcomes and systems thinking and understanding. While at UofL, Bohm was primarily responsible for overseeing the Mechanical Engineering Department’s capstone design program. Prior to his position at UofL, Bohm was a visiting researcher at Oregon State University (OSU) after completing his PhD at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) in 2009. While at S&T, Bohm was also a Lecturer for the Department of Interdisciplinary Engineering and was responsible for coordinating and teaching design and mechanics related courses.

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Robert L. Nagel James Madison University

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Dr. Robert Nagel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Nagel joined the James Madison University after completing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. He has a B.S. from Trine University and a M.S. from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, both in mechanical engineering. Since joining James Madison University, Nagel has helped to develop and teach the six course engineering design sequence which represents the spine of the curriculum for the Department of Engineering. The research and teaching interests of Dr. Nagel tend to revolve around engineering design and engineering design education, and in particular, the design conceptualization phase of the design process. He has performed research with the US Army Chemical Corps, General Motors Research and Development Center, and the US Air Force Academy, and he has received grants from the NSF, the EPA, and General Motors Corporation.

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Julie S. Linsey Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julie S. Linsey is an Associate Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technological. Dr. Linsey received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas. Her research area is design cognition including systematic methods and tools for innovative design with a particular focus on concept generation and design-by-analogy. Her research seeks to understand designers’ cognitive processes with the goal of creating better tools and approaches to enhance engineering design. She has authored over 100 technical publications including twenty-three journal papers, five book chapters, and she holds two patents.

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Abstract

One might think that as students progress through an undergraduate engineering curriculum, their understanding of a system’s inputs and outputs, component structure, and functional requirements would become more complete. This paper investigates the differences in sophomore and senior engineering students’ mental models. Students who took part in this study were enrolled in either a sophomore-level engineering design course or a senior-level systems analysis course. This multi-part study involved an in-class activity to elicit the students’ mental models of common household products and semi-structured interviews with students. Analysis of the completed in-class activity indicated no statistically significant difference between the sophomores’ and seniors’ mental model scores, so semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain clarity on the lack of difference. An affinity sort of the data revealed that some students may have relied on their understanding of functional modeling to complete the in-class activity, while others may have focused on component-based knowledge of the household products. Results of this study will be used to further improve the mental model instruments and the instrument deployment procedure.

Fish, F. J., & Murphy, A. R., & Banks, H. D., & Aleman, M. W., & Bohm, M. R., & Nagel, R. L., & Linsey, J. S. (2019, June), Exploring Differences in Senior and Sophomore Engineering Students’ Mental Models of Common Products Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32804

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015