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Intersecting Self-Efficacy and Interest: Exploring the Impact of Soft Robot Design Experiences on Engineering Perceptions

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Motivation, Attitudes, and Beliefs

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Andrew Jackson Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Andrew Jackson is currently pursuing a PhD in Technology through Purdue's Polytechnic Institute, with an emphasis on Engineering and Technology Teacher Education. His research interests are engineering self-efficacy, motivation, and decision making. Andrew is the recipient of a 2015 Ross Fellowship from Purdue University and has been recognized as a 21st Century Fellow by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. He completed his Master of Science in Technology Leadership and Innovation at Purdue University with a thesis investigating middle school engineering self-efficacy beliefs. He previously taught middle school and undergraduate technology courses, accompanying both experiences with classroom research to improve practice.

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Nathan Mentzer Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Nathan Mentzer is an associate professor in the Purdue Polytechnic with a joint appointment in the College of Education at Purdue University. Hired as a part of the strategic P12 STEM initiative, he prepares Engineering/Technology candidates for teacher licensure. Dr. Mentzer’s educational efforts in pedagogical content knowledge are guided by a research theme centered in student learning of engineering design thinking on the secondary level. Nathan was a former middle and high school technology educator in Montana prior to pursuing a doctoral degree. He was a National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE) Fellow at Utah State University while pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. After graduation he completed a one year appointment with the Center as a postdoctoral researcher.

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Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio Yale University

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Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University. She completed her B.S. at the Johns Hopkins University, M.S. at U.C. Berkeley, and Ph.D. at Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, she was an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University for four years. She currently serves as an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Robotics and AI: Soft Robotics, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, and IOPscience Multifunctional Materials. She is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the NASA Early Career Faculty Award, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, the ONR Young Investigator Award, and was named to Forbes’ 2015 30 under 30 list.

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This evidence-based practice paper analyzes student engineering self-efficacy and interest following a 9th-grade curriculum intervention which introduced soft robotic design to the classroom. Achievement motivation theories often hold that the intersection of self-efficacy and task interest are predictive of choices and behavior. By leveraging domain-specific measurements for self-efficacy and interest we focus on engineering self-efficacy and engineering career interest, to inform the development of the curriculum experience. First, an overview of the curriculum highlights elements which support self-efficacy or career interest. Next, participating students’ trajectories for self-efficacy and interest are mapped to investigate potential growth following the lessons. We examine the number of students with changing self-efficacy and interest and draw conclusions about curriculum revisions.

Jackson, A., & Mentzer, N., & Kramer-Bottiglio, R. (2018, June), Intersecting Self-Efficacy and Interest: Exploring the Impact of Soft Robot Design Experiences on Engineering Perceptions Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30712

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