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How Do They Think? Engineering College Students’ Conceptions of Electricity

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching Physics or Engineering Physics I

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.782.1 - 22.782.14



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Paper Authors


Chih-Hsiung Ku National Dong Hwa University

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Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Institute of Science Education and Center for Science Education.

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Wen-Cheng Chen National Dong Hwa University

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Doctoral student of science education.

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Lee king-lien Department of Electro-Optic Engineering,National Taipei University of Technology

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Ph.D., Department of Electro-Optic Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology

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How do they think? Engineering College Students’ Conceptions of Electricityat University of Technology in Taiwan.AbstractBased on the pre-study of the reality of physics curriculum/learning in the universities oftechnology in Taiwan (Ku & Chen, 2010), we have found that Electro-Magnetics was consideredas the most difficult domain for the engineering college students in physics studies. So thepurpose of the second-year study was focus on exploring the engineering college students’conceptions of electricity. It should be noticed again, university of technology in Taiwan iscategorized to vocational education system. Therefore, the performance of physics learning ofengineering college students in universities of technology should be something different fromgeneral university students. This is what we concerned in this study. The total participants were445 freshmen that were selected from 3 universities of technology in Taiwan. Levels and majorsof students were considered as the two main variables, and had been examined in data analysis.The levels of students were divided into three groups (high, mid and low) based on the scores inthe integrated entrance examination of university of technology. Majors of participants werecategorized as three groups--electricity and machines group, information engineering group, andother engineering group. Furthermore, in order to understand the difference between generaluniversity and university of technology in the physics learning. Another 67 engineering collegestudents from a mid-level general university were selected as the contrast group. We adopted theElectricity Conception Test (ECT) developed by Bilal & Frol (2009) as the assessment tool tounderstand the engineering college students’ conceptions of electricity. After data analysis, someinteresting research findings were discussed and will be suggested to the practice of physicscurriculum design in university of technology. Preliminary results showed that: (1) Studentsthought that Electromagnetic was the most difficult part of physics; (2) Students’ misconceptionsin Electrostatics were still existed, especially in the "field of the conductors and insulators" and"other equipotential lines for power," etc.; (3) The conceptions of different groups of studentswere analysis after the ECT test, either the general university(contrast group) or high levelscience and technology university students performed relatively better than the mid-level oftechnology college students. (4) Students always lack of the ability/intention in reasoning andexplanation so that they were seldom to support their own opinions. Other data needs furtheranalysis. The research findings will initialize a framework for teaching strategies in physicscurriculum in the next year.

Ku, C., & Chen, W., & king-lien, L., & CHENG, C. (2011, June), How Do They Think? Engineering College Students’ Conceptions of Electricity Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18063

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