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How Electrical Engineering Technology Students Understand Concepts of Electricity. Comparison of Misconceptions of Freshmen, Sophomores, and Seniors

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

ECE Curriculum Improvement

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

23.668.1 - 23.668.20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19682

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

biography

Tatiana V. Goris Purdue University, West Lafayette

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TATIANA V. GORIS, is a Post Doctoral Researcher at the College of Technology, Purdue University, Indiana. She earned her M.S. degrees from Taganrog State University of Radio-Engineering, Russia, specializing in microelectronics and semiconductor manufacturing (1999), and Ph.D in Technology (2012) from Purdue University, West Lafayette. Dr.Goris research interests include workforce development for advanced manufacturing and STEM education at post-secondary levels. She may be reached at tgoris@purdue.edu

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Michael J. Dyrenfurth Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Abstract

How Electrical Engineering Technology Students Understand Concepts of Electricity. Comparison of Freshmen’s’, Sophomores’, and Seniors’ Misconceptions.Effective instruction in Engineering and Technology requires knowledge of how studentsunderstand or lack understanding of key concepts in these disciplines. Incorrect mental models,deeply rooted in everyday experience, can significantly affect student learning. Evidencesuggests that students who learn new material may already have some understanding andpreconceptions about the new concepts.Misconceptions about electricity of freshmen and first-semester sophomores were analyzed andcompared to the misconceptions of seniors. The goals of the dissertation targeted: (1)investigating the correlation between student academic success (grades) and students’misconceptions, and (2) understanding how student mental models and misconceptions changewith increasing levels of competency and expertise during students’ progression from thefreshman to senior level.The two most interesting and unexpected results deserve attention. First, in the novice groupcorrelation between grades and misconceptions was stronger than in the senior group. Incorrectunderstanding of electricity in the senior group is frequently disguised by well-developedtechnical vocabulary. Even the brightest high-GPA students had numerous mistaken beliefs. Theother unexpected result was that, despite significant improvements in understanding ofelectricity, seniors had more misconceptions (and were more confused) than novices aboutphysical and fundamental electrical phenomena, such as ‘charge’ or ‘electrical field’. Also, thetwo widespread analogies among the students were between ‘water flow’ and electrical current,and electricity is a ‘substance-that-can-be-used-up’. Identified as the most popular mentalmodels, those analogies remained frequently used from the novice to senior levels.

Goris, T. V., & Dyrenfurth, M. J. (2013, June), How Electrical Engineering Technology Students Understand Concepts of Electricity. Comparison of Misconceptions of Freshmen, Sophomores, and Seniors Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19682

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