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Methods For Assessing The Impact Of A Design Course On Selected Student Traits

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

TC2K Methods and Models

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1062.1 - 12.1062.6



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Paper Authors


Peter Romine Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Peter L. Romine is currently the Chairman of the Department of Technology at Alabama A&M University. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He received his M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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William Gile Alabama A&M University

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Dr. William B. Gile is currently an assistant professor at the CTEL Department in the School of Education at Alabama A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Alabama A&M University in the fall of 2002, he was a secondary social science teacher, a special education teacher, and an elementary school principal. Dr. Gile received his Ed. D. from the University of Mississippi in 1984 in Curriculum and Instruction.

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elisabeth scherff Alabama A&M University

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Elisabeth Scherff is currently an ungraduate instructor in the School of Business at Alabama A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty she worked as a business consultant in the technology industry. She received her B.S.B.A. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She proceeded to earn her M.Ed. in Secondary Education / Business Education from Alabama A&M. Presently she is pursuing her doctorate at Auburn University in Curriculum and Teaching.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Methods for Assessing the Impact of a Capstone Design Course on Selected Student Traits

Abstract – This paper describes the development of a pilot study to determine the impact of a Capstone Design Course on selected student traits (problem solving, critical thinking, initiative, and transfer) identified by business and industry as necessary for success. Included are a review of the literature, a statement of the research question, the design and methodology of the study, procedures for the study, methods for data analysis, and a summary. The Capstone Design course is a requirement for every Engineering Technology student. The researchers’ goal is to determine whether this course enhances, and to what level, the traits. The researchers use four pre-tests at the beginning of the two-semester Capstone Design course and four post-tests at the end of the Capstone Design course to measure enhancement of the traits. These tests form the basis for pilot test assessment of these traits and will become the foundation for future research conducted within the Schools of Engineering & Technology, Education, and Business. Since these four traits, or qualities, are applicable to all areas of successful job placement and job performance, the post-assessment data, which can be thought of as a summative evaluation, of the students’ growth will yield a formative evaluation of the merits of the Engineering Technology program. After the students are made aware of their individual growth in these traits they will be given an open ended survey to give their opinion on why they made progress. Researchers from the Schools of Education and Business administer the tests to maintain confidentiality of student responses until after the completion of the courses. The objective of the research is to determine which elements of the design course experience have the greatest impact on these traits. Aspects of knowledge important to the enrichment of engineering and engineering technology students include problem solving, critical thinking, initiative, and the transfer of knowledge and skills from introductory instruction to working applications. While information and insights into students’ learning in other disciplines should not be discounted, research that is done with students working toward different degrees and/or problems not specific to engineering students and engineering problems is not well understood (Turns, Atman, Adams, and Barker, 2005)12. Insights into engineering students’ learning inherently need to stem directly from experience in course contexts for maximum applicability to success in the job market. Keywords: Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Initiative, Transfer, Design, Capstone


It is important to evaluate the effects of the Capstone Design course on student traits in the four specified areas to promote course re-evaluation for improved instruction and adherence to ABET standards. The research question for this study was generated through workshop on engineering education research conducted at the Colorado School of Mines in August of 2005. The authors participated through a project funded by the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Although the workshop and the literature focus on engineering education, the authors believe they are also applicable to engineering technology.

Romine, P., & Gile, W., & scherff, E. (2007, June), Methods For Assessing The Impact Of A Design Course On Selected Student Traits Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2999

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: © 2007 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