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Project-Based Service Learning and Student Motivation

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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

Active and Project-Based Learning

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1192.1 - 22.1192.16



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Paper Authors


Lauren A. Rockenbaugh University of Colorado, Boulder

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Lauren Rockenbaugh is a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research involves project-based service learning and student motivation. Lauren is also the co-director of Engineering for American Communities, a multidisciplinary engineering student organization whose mission is to perform entrepreneurial engineering design work to create affordable living innovations for people in need in local communities.

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Daria A. Kotys-Schwartz University of Colorado, Boulder

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Daria Kotys-Schwartz is the Faculty Director for the Mesa State College-University of Colorado Mechanical Engineering Partnership Program and an Instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Kotys-Schwartz has focused her research in engineering epistemology, engineering student learning, retention and diversity. She is currently investigating the use of Oral Discourse Method for conceptual development in engineering, the impact of a four-year hands-on design curriculum in engineering, the effects of service learning in engineering education, and informal learning in engineering.

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Derek T. Reamon University of Colorado, Boulder

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Derek Reamon is Co-Director of the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, and a Senior Instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Interface Design from Stanford University and has won numerous outstanding teaching awards. Dr. Reamon’s research interests encompass the foundations of educational theory, the practical issues involved in curricular improvement, and the assessment techniques required to measure the effectiveness of new methods.

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Project-Based Service Learning and Student MotivationWe know from motivation theory that enhanced motivation in students leads to increases inengagement and active learning, mastery, and general well-being and fulfillment. We know lessabout the types of instructional strategies and curricular interventions that work to enhancestudent motivation in a typical engineering course. Grounded in self-determination motivationtheory and expectancy-value motivation theory, the purpose of this research is to evaluate howthe context of project-based service learning affects student motivation in a requiredundergraduate Mechanical Engineering course – Component Design.Our research aims to answer: 1) How does project-based service learning affect students’intrinsic motivation for engineering as compared to conventional (non-service) project-basedlearning? 2) How do students value a project-based service learning activity differently than theyvalue a conventional project-based learning activity? 3) How does project-based service learningaffect student engagement in the course as compared to conventional project-based learning?The research, which began in 2009, will be completed over a three-year period. The students andactivities in Component Design, an existing junior-level course, will serve as the research focus.Specifically, we will integrate project-based service learning curriculum into a required designand build activity for Component Design students. Using a conventional design project as thecontrol, we will investigate how the context of project-based service learning affects studentmotivation. A mixed-methods assessment strategy will be employed. Both quantitative data frompre- and post- project surveys and qualitative data from interviews and focus groups will beevaluated.This paper will discuss the research design, theoretical framework, and the impact of theconventional project-based learning activity on student motivation in Component Design.

Rockenbaugh, L. A., & Kotys-Schwartz, D. A., & Reamon, D. T. (2011, June), Project-Based Service Learning and Student Motivation Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18854

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