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Polytechnic Students' Aspirations, Interests, and Confidence: Case Study on Students' Understanding of and Reasoning for Major Selection

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28746

Download Count

54

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Paper Authors

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Matthew Turner Purdue Polytechnic Institute, West Lafayette

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Dr. Matthew Turner is an Assistant Professor of ECET at Purdue University New Albany where he teaches courses in power systems and controls. Prior to joining the faculty at Purdue, Professor Turner worked as a researcher at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research in the area of power and energy systems, with a focus on smart grid implementation and computer modeling. Dr. Turner's current research concentrates on demand response technologies and the application of novel teaching and learning methods to power engineering education.

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Rustin Webster Purdue Polytechnic Institute, New Albany

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Dr. Rustin Webster is an assistant professor at Purdue University. He teaches within the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and the department of engineering technology. He specializes in mechanical engineering and computer graphics technology. Prior to joining Purdue, Dr. Webster worked in the Department of Defense field as an engineer, project manager, and researcher. His specialization was in mechanical design, research and development, and business development. He studied at Murray State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham where his research was on immersive virtual learning environments for educational training purposes. Furthermore, Dr. Webster has received various professional certifications from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SolidWorks Corporation, the Project Management Institute, and NACE International.

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Christopher Mark Schroder Purdue University

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Joseph F. Dues Jr. Purdue Polytechnic Institute, New Albany

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Andrew McCart Purdue Polytechnic Institute, New Albany

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Continuing Lecturer of Organizational Leadership.

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Abstract

This case study explores the conceptions held by first year polytechnic students at [Redacted] related to technology majors. Specifically, this research examines how technology students define Mechanical Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, and Computer Graphics Technology majors, their confidence in their given definitions, and the future job titles they associate with technology majors. The data for the study was collected from survey responses of 34 polytechnic students in a fall 2016 gateway to technology course. Qualitative data (i.e. structured survey text) was analyzed using NVivo® to identify themes, trends and patterns in the students’ responses. Quantitative data (i.e. scaled responses) was analyzed by common statistical software and methods (i.e. frequency, mean, standard deviation, etc.). Results of the study show that primary factor cited by students in choosing a major was interest in the discipline-specific subject matter. It was also found that most students associate technology majors with the process of design. These findings can be used by technology programs to re-design recruitment efforts in a manner that addresses the uncertainty and misconceptions held by incoming students. Thus helping them to better align their aspirations and interests for the future with an academic major.

Turner, M., & Webster, R., & Schroder, C. M., & Dues, J. F., & McCart, A. (2017, June), Polytechnic Students' Aspirations, Interests, and Confidence: Case Study on Students' Understanding of and Reasoning for Major Selection Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28746

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