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Technology Adoption Behaviors in a First-Year Engineering Classroom

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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

Pedagogical Issues in Computing

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1417.1 - 22.1417.9



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Paper Authors


Sarah Jane Grigg Clemson University

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Sarah Grigg is a Ph.D. student in Industrial Engineering at Clemson University with a human factors emphasis. Her research interests are in process improvement and error mitigation.

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Lisa Benson Clemson University

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Lisa C. Benson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Bioengineering. Dr. Benson teaches first year engineering, undergraduate research methods, and graduate engineering education courses. Her research interests include student-centered active learning in undergraduate engineering, assessment of motivation, and how motivation affects student learning. She is also involved in projects that utilize Tablet PCs to enhance student learning. Her education includes a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

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Catherine McGough Clemson University

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Technology Adoption Behaviors in a First Year Engineering ClassroomResearch in the industrial and organizational psychology and organizational behavior disciplineshas shown that as technology influences the way companies do business, employers are lookingfor recent college graduates to be the front-runners of technology driven initiatives more so nowthan ever before. It is an assumption that members of the millennial generation are morecomfortable with technology than former generations, which is true on average. However, thereare still students entering college without prior experience with technology, which will hindertheir success in the classroom and on the job market unless they obtain a level of comfort withtechnology throughout their college experience. While many universities have instituted a laptopmandate for undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, many universities still do notrequire students to bring a computer or laptop with them to campus. Our research groupintroduced the use of tablet computers in a first year engineering fundamentals course to increasestudent exposure to technology. A custom Tablet PC software application called MuseInk wasutilized to capture problem solving procedures in a manner that emulates handwritten solutions,but uses digital Ink to record the solutions. This approach introduces different assessment andinstructional capabilities beyond the use of hand written solutions typical of traditional courseswhere assignments are completed with pencil and paper.As with any new implementation of technology, there is a period of resistance and a mixture offeelings toward adoption of the technology. As educators work to introduce new technology intothe standard curriculum, research on the adoption of the technology is imperative to understandwhat drives these adoption behaviors to better inform potential users of ways to mitigateresistance to technology implementation. Our research group surveyed students on theirattitudes and behaviors toward the use of tablet computers and the MuseInk software technologyintroduced into the classroom. Diffusion theory is used to explain the technology adoptionbehaviors. Overall, the attitudes and behaviors associated with the introduction of tabletcomputers and MuseInk software followed adoption patterns typically seen with innovationdiffusion.

Grigg, S. J., & Benson, L., & McGough, C. (2011, June), Technology Adoption Behaviors in a First-Year Engineering Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18429

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