Increasing Student Confidence through Experiential Design Exercises in Engineering Science Courses

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Krauss, Gordon
Series: ICED
Institution: Harvey Mudd College
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2285-2294
DOI number:


This study investigates the impact on student confidence of completing in-lecture engineering design activities focused on the application of specific engineering science topics within a materials engineering course. Many times, engineering science courses are taught with the expectation that the course content can be easily translated by students at a later time to apply in engineering design activities. By measuring student self-reported confidence across several related topics before and after completion of the in-lecture design exercises the impact of the exercises on student confidence has been quantified. On average, students have a lower than desired confidence in applying the specific materials engineering topics to a design problem after completing only the course content on the subject. Following completion of the related seventy-five minute design exercise, student confidence increased by a statistically significant degree. These results suggest that close integration of topical content learning with design application activity may be a useful method to improve engineering student confidence and, by extension, retention.

Keywords: Student confidence, Design education, Education, Design learning

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