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WIP: Role of digital nudging strategies on STEM students’ application engagement

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

ERM: Exploring Educational Technology in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Ahmed Ashraf Butt Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Ahmed Ashraf Butt is a doctoral candidate in the school of engineering education at Purdue University with a multidisciplinary research focus that combines theory and practice in the area of learning science, Human-computer interaction (HCI), and engineering education. His primary research focuses on designing and developing educational technologies that can facilitate different aspects (e.g., engagement) of the students’ learning and provide an engaging experience. Further, he is interested in designing instructional interventions and exploring their relationship with different aspects of first-year engineering (FYE) students’ learning (e.g., motivation and learning strategies). Before Purdue University, he worked as a lecturer for two years at the University of Lahore, Pakistan. Additionally, he has been associated with the software industry in various capacities, from developer to consultant.

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Saira Anwar Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Saira Anwar is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station. She received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from the School of Engineering Education, Purdue University, USA. She earned her M.S. in Computer Science with a software engineering concentration from the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Pakistan. Dr. Anwar also holds an M.Sc in Computer Science from Punjab University College of Information Technology, Pakistan. Dr. Anwar is passionate about research and teaching, specifically translating research into evidence-based teaching practices. For her research, she is particularly interested in designing interventions that help develop students' understanding of conceptually hard concepts in STEM courses. She was awarded the 2020 outstanding researcher award by the School of Engineering Education, Purdue University. Also, she is the recipient of Apprentice Faculty Grant Award, 2022 by ERM division, ASEE. Dr. Anwar has over 13 years of teaching experience, including the University of Florida (Department of Engineering Education), Forman Christian College University (Department of Computer Science), and many other higher education institutes in Pakistan. She taught engineering education, computer science, and software engineering courses. She believes in implementing engaging, motivating, and interactive learning experiences through curricular innovation. She was awarded outstanding teacher awards in 2013 and 2006 by her then employers. Also, she was the recipient of the "President of Pakistan Merit and Talent Scholarship" for her undergraduate studies.

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Muhsin Menekse Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Muhsin Menekse is an Associate Professor at Purdue University with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering Education and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Dr. Menekse's primary research focuses on exploring K-16 students' engagement and learning of engineering and science concepts by creating innovative instructional resources and conducting interdisciplinary quasi-experimental research studies in and out of classroom environments. Dr. Menekse is the recipient of the 2014 William Elgin Wickenden Award by the American Society for Engineering Education. He is also selected as an NSF SIARM fellow for the advanced research methods for STEM education research. Dr. Menekse received four Seed-for-Success Awards (in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021) from Purdue University's Excellence in Research Awards programs in recognition of obtaining four external grants of $1 million or more during each year. His research has been generously funded by grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Purdue Research Foundation (PRF), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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The aim of this work-in progress study is to explore the impact of digital nudging strategies on the students’ app engagement while using an educational application (i.e., CourseMIRROR). CourseMIRROR prompts students to reflect on their learning after each lecture and uses natural language processing algorithms to generate summaries of those reflections. Although, prior studies have provided evidence on the effectiveness of the educational apps on students’ learning, there have been concerns about their inability to keep students engaged with the application. However, it is observed that behavioral interventions can be the way for positive reinforcements. Drawing from the “Nudge Theory” in behavioral sciences, we aim to use nudging strategies to enhance students’ app engagement. In this study, we outline the process of introducing nudge interventions in application CourseMIRROR. In this paper, we describe the method to introduce the application in three sections of STEM course at Midwestern University. Furthermore, this study describe a quasi-experimental approach to understand the effectiveness of nudging strategies on students’ app engagement. We suggest the methodology by dividing the sections of the course into three groups, where two groups will be nudged with two different nudge interventions, and third group is suggested to be a control group with no intervention. As the use of nudging strategies is new to educational applications and engineering education, the approach and effectiveness of nudging may help the future educators to use the educational apps in more effective ways to keep students engaged and eventually help students for their performance in large courses.

Butt, A. A., & Anwar, S., & Menekse, M. (2022, August), WIP: Role of digital nudging strategies on STEM students’ application engagement Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41039

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