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Understanding Remote Student Motivation in Hybrid and Remote Engineering Lab Modes

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Virtual Instruction in the First Year III

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Rui Li New York University

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Dr. Li is a visiting industry assistant professor at Tandon School of Engineering, New York University. He earned his master’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 2009 from the Imperial College of London and his doctoral degree in 2020 from the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering, where his research involved using smartphones, wireless sensors, and 3D printing to create low-cost MRI/CT compatible surgical devices. His current research interests are student motivation, active learning, and hy-flex classroom teaching.

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Jack Bringardner New York University Orcid 16x16

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Jack Bringardner is the Assistant Dean for Academic and Curricular Affairs at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. He is also an Assistant Professor in the General Engineering Department and Civil Engineering Department where he teaches the First-Year Engineering Program course Introduction to Engineering and Design. He is the Director of Vertically Integrated Projects at NYU. His Vertically Integrated Projects course is on Smart Cities Technology with a focus on transportation. His primary focus is developing curriculum, mentoring students, and engineering education research, particularly for project-based curriculum, first-year engineering, and transportation. He is active in the American Society for Engineering Education and is the Webmaster for the ASEE First-Year Programs Division and the First-Year Engineering Experience Conference. He is affiliated with the Transportation Engineering program in the NYU Civil and Urban Engineering Department. He is the advisor for NYU student chapter of the Institute for Transportation Engineers.

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The evidence-based practice paper will describe a study investigating the remote students’ intrinsic motivation in different engineering lab modes. One of the challenging tasks in engineering education is to improve and maintain students' motivation and retention in STEM disciplines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students at some universities chose to be either online or in-person, which generates a problem for educators on how to keep hybrid teamwork and collaboration high quality. It is widely self-reported that the remote students feel isolated from the in-person team members due to a lack of social presence. The in-person students also complain about less engagement from the remote students. Self-determination theory specifically addresses the relationship between human motivation and relatedness (meaningful relationships and interactions with other people). There are two key research questions to be answered in this study. One is how self-determination theory may be used to understand the remote students' motivation. The other one is which lab collaboration mode is best for remote students: in-person centered; remote-only and in-person only; or hybrid mode. An IRB protocol was approved to conduct a post-lab survey, centering on students' feedback of those three different lab modes in Fall 2020. Both qualitative and quantitative answers were assessed. The results showed the students are more engaged in the lab process in hybrid mode, in comparison with in-person-centered labs and in-person only and remote only. Therefore, this study suggests that having a hybrid learning environment improves remote students' participation and motivation.

Li, R., & Bringardner, J. (2021, July), Understanding Remote Student Motivation in Hybrid and Remote Engineering Lab Modes Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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