Department of Information Technology

Frontiers in Education 2009 Keynote

Cynthia Atman

The presentation summarises the CAEE research findings over the past 6 years.
Began by presenting perceptions of importance of different aspects of the profession.
Observed that we expect more and more of our students, not just engineering outcomes but we now formulate goals in lifelong learning and social/global context. Pointed out that being well rounded should be a general goal of tertiary education, this is not specific to engineering, but we can investigate how well rounded engineers are.

Data sources

  • NSSE national sample, 11819 matched pair first and senior level students, 247 inst.
  • PIE longditudinal
  • APPLES national sample 4266 samples (crossectional) 21 engineering colleges.
  • Workplace cohort, 17 early career engineers.

Motivation to study eng, from seniors, not variable over cohorts from first to
final year. high levels of intrinsic (psych, and behavioural), social good,
mentor, parental in that order. Split on gender, behavioural higher for men,
mentor influence higher for women.

Educational experiences, high reporting of capstone internship, low is study abroad, foreign language etc. Foreign language study is very low, few engineers know a foreign language.

ANP Comment: This is quite a US specific finding, almost all Swedish engineering students are bi-lingual at a minimum.

What do students define engineering to be "about"?

Academic presents often, well-defined problems, individual, single solution
Work "reality", open-ended problems, teams, multiple solutions.
More opportunities for practice but less emph on well roundedness early, then
later more of the fuzzy "real world" stuff is integrated into curricula.

Engagement and outcomes scales:

High reporting of expectation for higher order thinking, practical competence
Low, or social delvelop, integrative learning practice, reflective learning,
general educational gains.
Students do not expect to become well rounded.

Design activities: Rate on importance the six most important attributes of
design activity. Applied to both first and senior, 124 matched pairs.
Top six are: understanding to problem, communicating, planning, etc.
Change between first and graduating students, Identifying constraints,
interacting and modelling become more prevalent, visualising, planning,
communicating less prevalent

Updated  2009-10-22 20:35:02 by Arnold Pears.