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Studying the Fidelity of Implementation of an Intrinsic Motivation Course Conversion

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1438.1 - 26.1438.15



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Paper Authors


Geoffrey L Herman University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Geoffrey L. Herman is a visiting assistant professor with the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a research assistant professor with the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Mavis Future Faculty Fellow and conducted postdoctoral research with Ruth Streveler in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests include creating systems for sustainable improvement in engineering education, promoting intrinsic motivation in the classroom, conceptual change and development in engineering students, and change in faculty beliefs about teaching and learning. He serves as the webmaster for the ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division.

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Katherine Anne Earl University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Katherine Earl is a graduate student in the Department of Education's Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

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Dong San Choi University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Dong San Choi is a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

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The low-cost intrinsic motivation (IM) course conversion project is an effort to improve thequality of undergraduate engineering education by creating course designs that promote students’intrinsic motivation to learn while keeping the time and financial investments for those course designslow. We paired these two design constraints as a method for addressing the common concerns aboutthe dissemination and adoption of evidence-based teaching practices. If students become intrinsically-motivated to learn, they may become change agents who demand different instruction. If coursedesigns are demonstrably adoptable and feasible, they may be more attractive to faculty to adopt.Critically, the focus on motivation rather than content or specific pedagogies can lead to better learningas students who are intrinsically motivated to learn adopt strategies for deeper learning and persistlonger in their learning when encountering difficulties. Because of the project’s explicit goal of creating a course design method that facilitatestranslation of practices across instructors and courses, a critical test of the method is the fidelity ofimplementation and outcomes across instructors. In prior papers we have presented how the first IM-converted course promoted students’ intrinsic motivation to learn and improved their conceptualunderstanding of the course content. In this paper, we present a replication study that explores andcontrasts the implementation and outcomes of the second offering of the IM-converted course when itwas taught by different instructors. We use a mixed-methods comparative case study to describe andcontrast the two offerings of the course. Data for the case study includes course syllabi, studentinterviews, survey results, and concept inventory scores. Both courses were constructed upon the basic foundation of Self-Determination Theory whichposits that intrinsic motivation to learn can be fostered when instructors support the three corepsychological needs of autonomy, relatedness, and competence. In both course offerings, we supportedstudents’ autonomy through self-selected design projects, students’ relatedness by making the projectsteam-based, and students’ competence by providing weekly consultation meetings with instructors inplace of grading written homework assignments. The two offerings differed in their methods forassigning students to teams, the number of projects, and the number of examinations in the course.Survey results from the Learning Climate Questionnaire revealed that students perceived excellentmotivational support from their instructors with no statistically significant differences in climate scores.Interviews, however, revealed that students’ sense of relatedness with their peers and identificationwith the learning goals of their projects differed dramatically based upon the method of teamassignment. Varying the number of projects and exams did not reveal any differences in the studentexperience across semesters.

Herman, G. L., & Earl, K. A., & Choi, D. S. (2015, June), Studying the Fidelity of Implementation of an Intrinsic Motivation Course Conversion Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24775

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