Asee peer logo

Mechatronics and Academic Success: Towards Understanding the Impacts of Age, Major, and Technical Experience

Download Paper |


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

MET and Mechatronics

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John R. Haughery Iowa State University

visit author page

Dr. John Haughery is currently a lecturer in the department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. His technical experience and interests include electrical power systems, industrial controls, and mechatronics. His research focuses on the integration of mechatronic-based projects into freshman engineering and technology curricula with the intent of increasing student engagement and motivation. John received his BS in Industrial Technology: Electronic/Control Systems from Millersville University of Pennsylvania (2006), after which he spent over eight years as a control systems engineer and project manager at Multi-Dimensional Integration. He also holds an MS in Engineering and Technology Management from Morehead State University (2014) and a PhD in Industrial and Agricultural Technology from Iowa State University (2017).

visit author page

Download Paper |


This study built on previous research that found significant differences in the mean level of academic success (i.e., course grades) for students who participated in a mechatronic experience (i.e., integrating mechanical, electronic, and computer systems) vs. those who did not. This paper further examined this variation in course grades by conducting a two-way Analysis of Covariance to understand the impact academic major (i.e., technology major vs. non-technology major) and group assignment (i.e., control vs. treatment) had, while controlling for pre-study covariates of GPA, ACT, age, and technical experience. When adjusting for differences in ACT and GPA scores, we found significant main effects for group assignment (expected), but not for major (unexpected). Furthermore, no interaction effects where found between academic major and group assignment. When analyzing age and previous technical experience level (i.e., mechanical, electrical, and computer systems), we found age to be a significant predictor of course grades, while previous experience (in any area) was not. This would indicate that younger students performed better in the course, while, contrary to education theory, previous technical experience had no impact on course grades. This study used a quasi-experimental, nonequivalent group design with a convenience sample of n = 84 students in a first-year technology course. It looks to expand the empirical foundations supporting the impacts of mechatronic experiences on academic success.

Haughery, J. R. (2018, June), Mechatronics and Academic Success: Towards Understanding the Impacts of Age, Major, and Technical Experience Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30801

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015