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Long-term Impact of Improving Visualization Abilities of Minority Engineering and Technology Students

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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

Improving Visualization Skills

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1023.1 - 22.1023.8



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Paper Authors


Nancy E. Study Virginia State University

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Nancy E. Study is an Associate Professor in the Department of Technology at Virginia State University where she teaches courses in engineering graphics, facility planning, and cost estimating. She has been active in the Engineering Design Graphics Division of ASEE since 1999, has presented a number of papers at the EDGD midyear meetings and annual conferences, and has served as Associate Editor of the Engineering Design Graphics Journal since 2006.

Nancy has a B.S. from Missouri State University and M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her research interests are in visualization, haptics, and the integration of educational technology in STEM education. Her most recent work has focused on improving visualization abilities of minority engineering and technology students. She is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Epsilon Pi Tau honorary fraternities.

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Long-term Impact of Improving Visualization Abilities of Minority Engineering and Technology Students Retention in the major and graduation rates of minority students in STEM relatedfields tend to be lower than their non-minority peers, especially so at HBCUs. Previousstudies found that students enrolled in introductory engineering graphics courses at anHBCU had lower than average test scores on the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test:Visualization of Rotations (PSVT) when it was administered during the first week ofclass. Because of the positive correlation between visualization ability and academicsuccess in STEM courses, changes were made to the engineering graphics courses to adda variety of visualization enhancing activities including the use of sketching, blocks andmultimedia. The result of these activities was improvement of the students’ visualizationabilities as measured by the PSVT and it was hypothesized that this improvement wouldalso positively affect the students’ overall academic success. To assess the long-term impact of visualization remediation on overall academicsuccess, data is being collected on the students in the test group and also those in acontrol group who enrolled in sections of the engineering graphics courses that did notinclude visualization-specific instruction. Along with retention and graduation rates,statistics are being compared for overall GPA and grades earned in math and physicscourses. Initial analysis found significant differences in the students’ GPAs with higheraverages earned by those students in the test group. Also a higher percentage of studentsin the test group were retained both in an engineering or technology major and at theuniversity even if they did change their major. Data is still being collected and analyzedto build on the previously published initial results and see if the differences remainsignificant when more student data is included in the statistical analysis.

Study, N. E. (2011, June), Long-term Impact of Improving Visualization Abilities of Minority Engineering and Technology Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18296

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