Enhancing Student Perceptions of Engineering Disciplines through Showcasing of Career Paths

Matthew James, Kacie Hodges, Jenny Lo
2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
This complete evidence-based practice paper describes an instructional technique used in a general first-year engineering course to enhance students' perceptions of engineering disciplines by highlighting current jobs and careers of people who studied across a variety of engineeringrelated fields throughout the semester. As part of this introductory course at Virginia Tech, a large land-grant university in the southeast United States, students are expected to investigate multiple engineering
more » ... iple engineering disciplines offered at the institution, which will help them choose a major of study as they move into their second year. At the study institution, there are over a dozen engineering majors students can choose from, and within those, many more sub-disciplines. This presents a challenge for instructors because, while important, selection of a discipline is only one of six learning outcomes for the course. Furthermore, many first-year students are not aware of the many different paths they can take as an engineer, and often are only familiar with the more popular disciplines. their decision pursue a discipline, if it was an effective use of class time to meet course learning outcomes, and suggestions for future implementations of the activity, among other questions. The survey involved a series of Likert scale and free response questions. Self-reported demographic information was also collected as part of the survey. The authors present both quantitative and qualitative data from the survey. The paper discusses frequency and percent distributions of quantitative data. Qualitative data was coded using an open-coding framework. Preliminary results from this study will be discussed. The results of this analysis show that students found that practice of including engineering jobs in the way described was useful with respect to the different paths they can pursue with a degree in engineering based on this activity. International students provided more positive responses than non-international students. From the faculty perspective, some perceived benefits of this classroom activity include providing students with helpful real-world information without adding to the student's workload.
doi:10.18260/1-2--32750 fatcat:22fkmdqozbdize3gojlp72zxme