Instrument Development to Assess Design Project Appropriateness for Domain Relatedness, Ambiguity Tolerance, and Genderedness

  • Tate, Robin (PI)
  • Jackson, Kathy L. (CoPI)
  • Wu, Xinli (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Industry-sponsored projects in the context of engineering design problems have received attention and prominence in undergraduate engineering education, yet the impacts of these experiences and learning gains for students is an important area of investigation for engineering education scholars. This project focuses on understanding the impact of three industry-sponsored project characteristics on student learning, project domain relatedness, project ambiguity, and project gender orientation. The goal of this project is to develop a new instrument to gain insight into design project appropriateness for first-year engineering students. Such findings are of significance not only to better design engineering education experiences, but also to gain insight into the impacts of such design experiences on student learning and their perceptions around engineering epistemologies and issues of student engagement. At a time of continued retention concerns in undergraduate engineering, results from this project have the potential to offer critical information to engineering educators around student engagement, project experiences, and impacts of industry-sponsored design projects.

Although there is an extensive body of knowledge around engineering design learning, there is limited knowledge on the appropriateness of industry-sponsored design projects integrated into the first year curriculum. This project adopts validated instruments on engineering student self-efficacy in combination with new survey instruments to be developed in order to gain insight into students' perceptions on the implications of an industry-sponsored design projects around characteristics of project domain relatedness, project ambiguity, and project genderness. With a large sample of data to be collected, statistical analyses will involve exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, as well as analysis of variance to isolate the significance of study variables (i.e., project domain relatedness to a student's chosen engineering major, project ambiguity, and project gender orientation). Knowledge gains from this project are expected to support strengthened partnerships between industry and academia, and to better understand the impacts of students' learning when working on industry-sponsored design projects.

Effective start/end date10/1/169/30/20


  • National Science Foundation: $300,000.00


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