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Impact of Educators Changing Student Motivation: A Study of Transient Factor Correlation and Orthogonality

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Mental Frameworks

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Devanshi Shah University of Georgia

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Devanshi Shah is currently a PhD student in Engineering at the University of Georgia, under the advisement of Dr. Beshoy Morkos. She received her masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology in 2019. She graduated with her bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from India in 2016. Her research area is focused in design engineering and engineering education.

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Elisabeth Kames Florida Polytechnic University

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Elisabeth Kames is an Assistant Professor at Florida Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on the impact of motivation on performance and persistence in mechanical engineering design courses. Elisabeth is an active member of ASEE, ASME, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and Pi Tau Sigma International Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.

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Beshoy Morkos University of Georgia

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Beshoy Morkos is an associate professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia where he directs MODE2L (Manufacturing Optimization, Design, and Engineering Education Lab) Group. His research group currently performs research in the areas of system design, manufacturing, and their respective education. His system design research focuses on developing computational representation and reasoning support for managing complex system design through the use of Model Based approaches. The goal of Dr. Morkos’ manufacturing research is to fundamentally reframe our understanding and utilization of product and process representations and computational reasoning capabilities to support the development of models which help engineers and project planners intelligently make informed decisions. On the engineering education front, Dr. Morkos’ research explores means to improve persistence and diversity in engineering education by leveraging students’ design experiences. Dr. Morkos’ research is supported by federal [National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), United States Navy, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)] and industry partners [Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Sun Nuclear, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins, PTC, Alstom].

Dr. Morkos received his Ph.D. from Clemson University. His Ph.D. dissertation was awarded the 2014 ASME CIE Dissertation of the year award for its transformative research on the development of nontraditional representation and reasoning tools for requirements analysis. 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. He graduated with his B.S. and M.S in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 and 2008 respectively. 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.

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Previous research has indicated the importance of student motivation to persistence in engineering and performance in design-based courses. This particularly true for senior capstone design, where students focus their attention on a single design prompt for up to three consecutive semesters. We hypothesized that students possess a natural inclination towards types of capstone projects, and their choice of project may impact their motivation levels throughout their experience in the design course, which ultimately will impact their performance. While educators have made attempts to influence specific motivational factors to improve student performance, the interdependency of motivation factors as they change is unknown. This paper examines the correlation and the interdependency between student motivation factors. Using the MSLQ questionnaire by Pintrich, we examine five main factors of motivation: cognition, self-regulation, intrinsic value, test anxiety and self-efficacy. In this study, two cohorts of senior design student completed the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) to self-evaluate their motivation on a 7-point Likert scale at two instances in time (beginning and end of senior capstone design course). The study is performed through a two-fold analysis: Covariance/Correlations and Principal Component Analysis. A principal component analysis indicated that each of the factors uniformly captured the variation in the data – an indication of a well-designed instrument. However, the results of the study also indicated that motivation factors do possess correlation with one another (with the exception of anxiety, which displayed no correlation with two factors and low correlation with the remaining factors). The results indicate that changes to one factor by an educator may unintentionally make changes to other factors which may have an unanticipated net effect on their motivational level.

Shah, D., & Kames, E., & Morkos, B. (2021, July), Impact of Educators Changing Student Motivation: A Study of Transient Factor Correlation and Orthogonality Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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