New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
Students’ learning motivation in their engineering writing classes is typically regarded as low—by researchers, educators, and students themselves. This low motivation is often attributed to students’ lack of value for writing in general or engineering writing classes in particular. However, the claim that engineering students don’t value writing has not been explored in great detail through research. In this paper, we report the results of mixed-methods research on student learning motivation, toward understanding and unpacking student values that affect their engagement and success in writing education.
We first present the results of the value components of a Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) that was administered to approximately 300 students across 10 engineering disciplines who were enrolled in one of three engineering writing courses. These students were surveyed on their attitudes and motivations regarding their engineering writing classes; and as a control, they answered the same survey items about engineering classes that they were concurrently enrolled in which had no graded writing component. The results of this survey suggest that, contrary to common perception of engineering students, these students in aggregate readily identified their writing courses as equally or more useful and important than their non-writing courses. However, these students were significantly less interested in their writing courses’ content than that of their other concurrent engineering classes. In order to better understand this gap in course content interest, we triangulate the value data from the students’ MSLQ against qualitative discussions of student interest, experiences, and class expectations that were conveyed to us through open-ended written survey items and semi-structured interviews. We conclude by providing practical suggestions for educators that are supported by our data.
Pulford, S. (2016, June), Useful but Not Interesting: Illuminating Student Task Values Surrounding Engineering Writing Classes Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27117
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