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Measuring the Differences in Spatial Ability Between a Face-to-Face and a Synchronous Distance Education Undergraduate Engineering Graphics Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Understanding Our Students I

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.922.1 - 25.922.17



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Paper Authors


Wade H. Goodridge Utah State University

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Wade Goodridge, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Engineering and Technology Education at Utah State University, instructs Solid Modeling, CAD, Introductory Electronics, Surveying, and Introductory
Engineering courses at the Brigham City Regional campus. Goodridge has has been teaching for the Utah State College of Engineering for more than eight years. He holds dual B.S degrees in industrial technology education and civil engineering from Utah State University, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering
from Utah State University. His research interests include metacognitive processes and strategies involved in engineering design using solid modeling, learning style impacts upon hybrid synchronous broadcast
engineering education, and team teaching in broadcast environments.

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Scott David Greenhalgh University of Northern Iowa

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Scott Greenhalgh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial Technology at the University of Northern Iowa. Greenhalgh’s professional interests include collaborations between the STEM fields in teacher preparation. His research interests include cognitive processes in the engineering, technological, and creative design processes.

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Oenardi Lawanto Utah State University

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Oenardi Lawanto is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University. Lawanto holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in human resource education. His research interests include areas in cognition, learning, instructions, engineering design, and e-learning. Currently, he is working on two research projects that investigate students’ cognitive and metacognitive activities while learning engineering. Both projects are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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Gary A. Stewardson Utah State University

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Gary Stewardson is an Associate Professor in technology and engineering education at Utah State University. His curriculum and research interests include student learning in the areas of problem solving, engineering design, creative thinking, and spatial ability.

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Measuring the differences in spatial ability between a face-to-face and a synchronous distance education undergraduate engineering graphics course Distance education is growing at colleges and universities throughout the United States.Engineering graphics laboratory courses are unique in their focus on skills and design with anemphasis on a hands-on approach when compared to many subjects which focus on masteringinformation. Most studies in the literature focus on how distance learning has impactedtraditionally lecture based curricular approach and have not focused on classrooms which aretraditionally laboratory based as would be typically found in many engineering graphics courses.This study measured and compared spatial ability as it is an essential component to engineeringgraphics and has a highly correlated measure of success in engineering and other STEMdisciplines. The purpose of the study was to measure and compare a face-to-face engineeringgraphics course with a synchronous distance education engineering graphics course byidentifying the impact of the teacher’s physical presence on students’ spatial ability. The PurdueSpatial Visualization Test of Rotations (PSVT:R) was used to collect the data through a pretestconducted at the start of class and posttest administered at the courses completion. Results indicate a difference in spatial visualization progress for the two instructionalmediums. Students with a low beginning spatial ability showed greater improvement (p < .011)in the face-to-face courses (m = 3.50, SD = 1.93), than in the synchronous distance educationcourses (m = 1.39, SD = 2.25). As suggested by literature, there were a high proportion offemales in this first group, suggesting that female students may be impacted more than malestudents by a course with synchronous distance education. Further inquiry is suggested regardinghow synchronous distance education impacts students with varying spatial ability upon enteringcourses. Likewise, further inquiry is suggested to look at how various methods of delivery indistance education impact spatial ability in engineering graphics courses.

Goodridge, W. H., & Greenhalgh, S. D., & Lawanto, O., & Stewardson, G. A. (2012, June), Measuring the Differences in Spatial Ability Between a Face-to-Face and a Synchronous Distance Education Undergraduate Engineering Graphics Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21679

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