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Active and cooperative learning in a freshman digital design course: impact on persistence in engineering and student motivational orientation

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5 Author(s)

In an effort to retain students in the electrical and computer science/engineering programs at Arizona State University, a freshman-level introductory digital logic design course was designed with extensive active learning components in cooperative student teams as well as hardware and software (simulation) labs. This paper reports on an evaluation of the impact of the course on the persistence of the students in the program. The recently proposed persistence in engineering (PIE) survey instrument was adapted for our setting and combined with mastery, performance, and alienation survey items to obtain deeper insights into the motivational orientations of the students. The survey was conducted both at the beginning of the course and at the end of the course to assess the impact of the course on persistence and motivational orientations. Evaluation data for two years worth of offerings of the course to a diverse population of over 450 students revealed a significant positive impact of the course on student perceptions of their skills applying science and math to real-world problems as well as of their performance on teams. On the other hand, the course significantly negatively impacted the students' perceptions of the course workload and intensified their alienation motivation tendencies.

Published in:

Frontiers In Education Conference - Global Engineering: Knowledge Without Borders, Opportunities Without Passports, 2007. FIE '07. 37th Annual

Date of Conference:

10-13 Oct. 2007