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The Effect of Course Type on Engineering Undergraduates' Situational Motivation and Curiosity

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Student Success III: Affect and Attitudes

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

13

DOI

10.18260/p.26134

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26134

Download Count

127

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Paper Authors

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University

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Dr. Michael Prince is a professor of chemical engineering at Bucknell University and co-director of the National Effective Teaching Institute. His research examines a range of engineering education topics, including how to assess and repair student misconceptions and how to increase the adoption of research-based instructional strategies by college instructors and corporate trainers. He is actively engaged in presenting workshops on instructional design to both academic and corporate instructors.

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Katharyn E. K. Nottis Bucknell University

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Dr. Nottis is an Educational Psychologist and Professor of Education at Bucknell University. Her research has focused on meaningful learning in science and engineering education, approached from the perspective of Human Constructivism. She has authored several publications and given numerous presentations on the generation of analogies, misconceptions, and facilitating learning in science and engineering education. She has been involved in collaborative research projects focused on conceptual learning in chemistry, chemical engineering, seismology, and astronomy.

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Margot A. Vigeant Bucknell University

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Margot Vigeant is a professor of chemical engineering and an associate dean of engineering at Bucknell University. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University, and her M.S. and Ph.D., also in chemical engineering, from the University of Virginia. Her primary research focus is on engineering pedagogy at the undergraduate level. She is particularly interested in the teaching and learning of concepts related to thermodynamics. She is also interested in active, collaborative, and problem-based learning, and in the ways hands-on activities and technology in general and games in particular can be used to improve student engagement.

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Charles Kim Bucknell University

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Charles Kim is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Bucknell University. He received Ph.D. and M.S.E. degrees from the University of Michigan and B.S. from Caltech. Prof. Kim teaches courses in design and innovation and is currently director of the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, Applications, and Systems program at Bucknell.

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Erin Jablonski Bucknell University

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Erin received her PhD at Iowa State University with funding from a NSF graduate fellowship before taking a NRC postdoctoral position at NIST. She joined the faculty at Bucknell in 2004 and has taught courses across the curriculum.

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Abstract

This one group pre-test-post-test design research study investigated situational intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, amotivation, and curiosity and how they were differentially impacted by engineering undergraduates’ participation in an IDEAS studio course and a comparison course (designated Course X). Situational motivation is a descriptor for the motivation people have when involved in an activity. Vallerand (1997) has referred to it as, “here-and-now” of motivation. All IDEAS studio courses are small with an interdisciplinary mix of students. Students voluntarily register for these courses that include the creation of a physical artifact, a real problem and broad perspectives in class work, and an open process to create solutions. Participants in an IDEAS course were asked to select a comparison course that was the least like the IDEAS course. Three times throughout the semester situational motivation and curiosity were assessed for both courses using 21 questions selected from existing instruments.

The Situational Motivation Scale (Guay, Vallerand, & Blanchard, 2000) was used to measure motivation and amotivation. This is a multidimensional assessment designed to measure the four kinds of motivation hypothesized by self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985): intrinsic motivation, two measures of extrinsic motivation (identified regulation and external regulation), and amotivation. Self-determination involves a feeling of options, a sense of considering oneself free to do what one has chosen to do. It hypothesizes that motivation is explained by beliefs about “competence, autonomy, and relatedness” (Guay et al., 2000, p. 205). While there has been an absence of agreement on an appropriate definition for curiosity (Arnone, Small, Chauncey, & McKenna, 2011), it is clear that curiosity, interest, and engagement are dynamically related. Therefore, curiosity was measured by taking five questions from an existing Situational Interest Scale (Chen, Darst, & Pangrazi, 1999). Four of the questions came from the Exploration Intention factor and one from Instant Enjoyment. It was hypothesized that when in the IDEAS course, students would have higher intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, and curiosity than in Course X, while they would have higher external regulation and amotivation in Course X than in the IDEAS course.

Sixty-two engineering undergraduates from one university participated in the study over two semesters. The majority were White (66.7%) seniors (58.8%) with self-reported GPAs of 3.01-3.50 (51%). There were 40 males and 11 females. Students were from multiple engineering majors but the largest group was mechanical engineering (33.3%). Paired samples t-tests were completed after each assessment to determine if there were significant differences in motivation and curiosity between the IDEAS course and Course X. Cohen’s d was used to measure effect size. Results showed that at each of the three times students completed the assessment, there was a significant difference between their situational motivation and curiosity for the IDEAS course and Course X. When evaluating the IDEAS course, students consistently had higher scores in intrinsic motivation, identified regulation and curiosity than Course X with large effect sizes. When considering Course X, they consistently had higher scores in external regulation and amotivation than the IDEAS course with large effect sizes.

References Arnone, M. P., Small, R. V., Chauncey, S. A., & McKenna, H. P. (2011). Curiosity, interest and engagement in technology-pervasive learning environments: A new research agenda. Educational Technology Research Development, 59, 181-198. . (doi: 10.1007/s11423 011-9190-9) Chen, A., Darst, P. W., & Pangrazi, R. P. (1999). What constitutes situational interest? Validating a construct in physical education. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 3 (3), 157-180. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. NY: Plenum Guy, F., Vallerand, R. J., & Blanchard, C. (2000). On the assessment of situational intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS). Motivation and Emotion, 24 (3), 175-213. Vallerand, R. J. (1997). Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.). Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 271-360). NY: Academic Press.

Prince, M. J., & Nottis, K. E. K., & Vigeant, M. A., & Kim, C., & Jablonski, E. (2016, June), The Effect of Course Type on Engineering Undergraduates' Situational Motivation and Curiosity Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26134

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