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Student Perceptions of Ideation and Prototyping Tools in an Introductory Engineering Human-Centered Design Course

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

DEED Technical Session 11 Empathy and Human-Centered Design 2

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Paper Authors


Pamela Dickrell University of Florida

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Dr. Pamela Dickrell is the Associate Chair of Academics in the Department of Engineering Education, in the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Her research focuses on effective teaching methods, engineering design, hands-on education, and undergradaute student engagement and retention.

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Jeremy Waisome University of Florida

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Dr. Jeremy A. Magruder Waisome earned her bachelor's and master's of science degrees and Ph.D. in civil engineering from UF. During her studies, she became passionate about issues of equity, access, and inclusion in engineering and computing and worked to develop programs and activities that supported diverse students in these disciplines. Today, Dr. Waisome is an incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education where she conducts research on broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computing (STEM+C). She is particularly interested in understanding how formalized mentoring programs impact student trajectories and self-efficacy. In her teaching, she utilizes the learner-centered approach to instruction.

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Lilianny Virguez University of Florida

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Lilianny Virguez is an Instructional Assistant Professor at the Engineering Education Department at University of Florida. She holds a Masters' degree in Management Systems Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. She has work experience in telecommunications engineering and teaches undergraduate engineering courses such as engineering design and elements of electrical engineering. Her research interests include the intersection of core non-cognitive skills and engineering students’ success.

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Andrea Goncher University of Florida


Idalis Villanueva University of Florida

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For the past 10 years, Dr. Idalis Villanueva has worked on several engineering education projects where she derives from her experiences in engineering to improve outcomes for minoritized groups in engineering using mixed-and multi-modal methods approaches. She currently is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Education Department at the University of Florida. In 2019, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award for her NSF CAREER project on hidden curriculum in engineering. Dr. Idalis Villanueva has a B.S. degree is in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and a M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Soon after, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health in Analytical Cell Biology in Bethesda, Maryland and worked as a lecturer for 2 years before transitioning to a tenure-track in engineering education. Her experiences as a first-generation engineer, Latinx, woman of color, introvert, and mother has shaped the lens and research-informed practical approaches that she uses in her research.

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Engineering Design & Society is a multidisciplinary course focused on hands-on learning through human-centered design (HCD) principles intended for first-year engineering students. The course is held in a makerspace-like classroom, where engineering students learn to use basic prototyping tools and methods. The course begins with two weeks on HCD, then six weeks of learning various prototyping technical skills, followed by a final six weeks of integrating these skills while working as teams to research, design, and build a functional physical prototype to address a human-centered societal need. HCD principles are threaded throughout the course and students engage with a HCD process to create the final prototype designs. Student teams prepare formal design reports and give presentations on their functional prototypes. This work focuses on an analysis of student perceptions of the value they attributed to various ideation and prototyping tools utilized in the introductory engineering design course. The central research question for this exploratory work is: What design course ideation and prototyping tools helped students understand the engineering profession best? The primary ideation tools covered in class included: Flowcharts, Decision Matrix, Empathy Mapping Tool, Engineering Design Notebooks, and Team Markerboards. The prototyping tools used in the class included: Arduino Starter Kits, Tinkercad Circuits Software, Onshape Solid Modeling Software, 3D Printers, and Hand Tools/Power Tools. This exploratory study used multi-method approaches to explore first quantitatively, which ideation tools and prototyping tools students ranked as being most important to facilitating learning about engineering in this introductory design course. Then, written reflective responses examined students' qualitative descriptions and feedback to help clarify their reasoning behind their ranking choices. This exploratory study sheds light into how introductory engineering design course ideation and prototyping tools could influence students’ perceptions.

Dickrell, P., & Waisome, J., & Virguez, L., & Goncher, A., & Villanueva, I. (2022, August), Student Perceptions of Ideation and Prototyping Tools in an Introductory Engineering Human-Centered Design Course Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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: © 2022 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