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Examining the Differences in Student Motivation for Industry Projects and Non-Industry Projects in Senior Capstone Design

Authors:
Paper ID #27601
Examining the Differences in Student Motivation for Industry Projects and
Non-Industry Projects in Senior Capstone Design
Devanshi Shah, Florida Institute of Technology
I am a graduate student pursuing M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology
with specialization in Structures, Solid Mechanics and Materials. I graduated with B.E. in Mechanical
Engineering in India in May 2016. My research is focused on Student’s Motivation in Engineering under
the advisement of Dr. Beshoy Morkos.
Elisabeth Kames, Florida Institute of Technology
Elisabeth Kames is a graduate student working on her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Florida Institute
of Technology. Her research focuses on the impact of motivation on performance and persistence in
mechanical engineering design courses under the guidance of Dr. Beshoy Morkos. She also serves as a
graduate student advisor to senior design teams within the mechanical engineering department. Elisabeth
is a member of ASME, ASEE, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and Pi Tau Sigma International
Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.
Miss McKenzie Carol Clark, Florida Institute of Technology
Dr. Beshoy Morkos, Florida Institute of Technology
Beshoy Morkos is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at the
Florida Institute of Technology where he directs the STRIDE Lab (SysTems Research on Intelligent De-
sign and Engineering). His engineering design research focuses on developing computational represen-
tation and reasoning support for managing complex system design. The goal of Dr. Morkos’ research is
to fundamentally reframe our understanding and utilization of system representations and computational
reasoning capabilities to support the development of system models which help engineers and project
planners intelligently make informed decisions at earlier stages of engineering design. On the engineer-
ing education front, Dr. Morkos’ research explores means to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship
in engineering education through entrepreneurially-minded learning, improve persistence in engineering,
address challenges in senior design education, and promote engineering education in international teams
and settings. Dr. Morkos’ research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF),
Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), and NASA JPL. Dr. Morkos received his Ph.D.
from Clemson University in the Clemson Engineering Design and Applications Research (CEDAR) lab
under Dr. Joshua Summers. In 2014, he was awarded the ASME CIE Dissertation of the year award for his
doctoral research. He graduated with his B.S. and M.S in Mechanical Engineering in 2006 and 2008 from
Clemson University and has worked on multiple sponsored projects funded by partners such as NASA,
Michelin, and BMW. His past work experience include working at the BMW Information Technology
Research Center (ITRC) as a Research Associate and Robert Bosch Corporation as a Manufacturing En-
gineer. Dr. Morkos was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Engineering & Science Education
at Clemson University performing NSF funded research on engineering student motivation and its ef-
fects on persistence and the use of advanced technology in engineering classroom environments. Dr.
Morkos’ research thrust include: design automation, design representations, computational reasoning,
systems modeling, engineering education, design education, collaborative design, and data/knowledge
management.
c
American Society for Engineering Education, 2019
Examining the Differences in Student Motivation for Industry
Projects and Non-Industry Projects in Senior Capstone Design
Abstract
This paper examines the change in student motivation through a yearlong senior capstone design
course with respect to their choice of project type. The senior capstone design projects offered at
Florida Institute of Technology fall into one of two major project types: industry sponsored and
non-industry sponsored. Industry-sponsored projects are provided through industry partnerships
and include government funded and privately funded. Non-industry projects at the university
include competition based projects, such as SAE Formula and SAE Baja; and humanitarian based
projects. The students opt for either of the two major project types based on their interest and future
career goals.
The students were given an adapted version of Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire
(MSLQ) to self-identify their motivation levels by rating various questions on a 7-point Likert
scale. The surveys were conducted at two different points in time throughout the yearlong senior
capstone design course: at beginning of the fall semester, two weeks into the school year when the
students were not fully introduced to their project topics; and again at the end of the spring semester
after their projects were completed and the senior capstone design course was concluding. Five
motivation factors were studied to examine student motivation within and between the cohorts:
cognitive value, self-regulation, presentation anxiety, intrinsic value, and self-efficacy. The data
was collected from three cohorts of mechanical engineering senior capstone design students,
through three different yearlong senior capstone courses: 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2016-2017.
The data was analyzed using an ANOVA Single Factor analysis and a t-test for single variance to
examine which factors affected student motivation.
The goal of this research is to examine the effect of the student’s choice of project type on their
motivation and changes in motivation in senior capstone design. This will thereby provide
educators with insight on the impact of the student’s project selection on their senior capstone
design experience. Thus, this research aims to revolutionize the senior capstone design curriculum
by catering the project offerings that positively impact the student’s experience, increasing their
motivation and improving their performance in the course.
The results indicate that students working on industry-sponsored design projects exhibit increased
motivation throughout the course of the year versus their non-industry counterparts. However, the
non-industry project groups typically had higher motivation levels entering into the senior
capstone design experience than the industry-sponsored project teams.
Keywords:
Senior Capstone Design, Motivation, Project Type, Industry Projects, University Projects
1. Introduction
In this study, we aim to explore the effects of student’s selection of senior design project on their
motivation level. Mechanical engineering students in their senior capstone design course are
offered various project choices, from two major categories: industry sponsored and non-industry
sponsored (competition and humanitarian) projects. These categories further offer various options
on sub topics based on the interest of the student. Most of the universities in United States offer
industry sponsored projects in their senior capstone design course to give students an opportunity
to work on real world industry projects. However, there is still a lot of information to be gathered
to determine the impact such projects have on students and if the utilization of industry sponsored
projects promote student learning or increase motivation towards their discipline. To that end, we
explore differences in student motivation between those who select industry versus non-industry
projects. For this research we combined the competition projects and university/humanitarian
projects under the category of non-industry projects. This assists the research in dividing the
students into two major categories of industry sponsored projects and non-industry projects.
Senior capstone design has become a centerpiece of student experiential learning within the
curriculum. Further, it has afforded engineering educators an opportunity to experience how
students learn in nontraditional modes (compared to the in the classroom counterpart). Senior
capstone design courses were introduced to most of the universities in United States after
engineering education faced criticism about the student’s readiness to enter the industry to face the
real world problems.1 In an effort to understand the impact of senior design, we aim to understand
how a particular project type impacts students. Understanding how project types contribute to
students’ motivation in senior design affords the ability to improve the educational process of the
course through offering students with better project options. This is done by specifically targeting
those project topics which are found to have an impact on the student’s motivation during the entire
course period.
This study is performed through a one-year longitudinal analysis whereby a cohort of senior design
students are observed throughout their project duration (fall and spring semester of senior year).
Three cohorts are considered and studied longitudinally. The cohorts belong to three different
academic senior design years: 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2016-2017. Data is collected utilizing
the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) at the beginning of the fall semester
when they are introduced to their project (two weeks into the course) and at the end of the senior
design course, approximately two weeks before the end of the academic year.2 This data is
compared against the type of project students selected: industry sponsored versus non-industry.
The objective of this research is to address two research questions:
RQ1: Are there varying levels of student motivation between those who select industry sponsored
versus non-industry sponsored projects?
Hypothesis: The researchers hypothesize that there are varying levels of motivation observed
between students who select one type of project compared to their counterpart
RQ2: Does the project type have a significance on the change of student motivation throughout
the project duration?
Hypothesis: The researchers hypothesize no differences are observed in changes to student
motivation between industry sponsored and non-industry projects
2. Background
As we consider the differences in student projects through the lens of motivation, a motivation
background is provided to gain insight on the motivation instrument used and its impact on student
learning. Comparison of industry sponsored and non-industry projects are also provided to explain
their differences and what students may experience in each of them.
2.1. Senior Design
Senior capstone design is one bridge that connects students to professional engineering industry.
Senior capstone design is a design course offered in the senior year of mechanical engineering
where students have an opportunity to design a project (prototype) or work on an existing project
to improve its performance through redesign or innovation. Design is an integral part of
mechanical engineering. Students at the Florida Institute of Technology often claim to have
entered mechanical engineering solely for their curiosity and passion to design something new.3
Senior capstone design is also unique because students get to work as a team, thus giving them a
preview of the industry where employees work in a team based environment. Competition projects
are the best choice when it comes to re-designing an existing model and improving its previous
performance. Humanitarian projects intend to help people in the lesser developed countries by
providing solutions to the struggles they face for basic facilities like shelter, food, and water. They
aim at providing cost effective products that are affordable to people all around the world.
Humanitarian projects also provide the liberty to students to establish their own problem statement.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be from the university or the course instructor. In such cases, students
provide instructors with their top three project statements and areas they wish work in, the
instructor then finalizes one of them after analyzing all the requirements and project path. The
emergence of this course comes from various sources like the Accreditation Board for Engineering
and Technology, Inc. (ABET), local industries, and individual school requirements.4
Further, senior design provides students the opportunity to work on a project where they can both
address both technical requirements (something they learn in course work) and learn how to
manage projects (an aspect of engineering they have yet to learn).5 Prior research performed by
the authors has determined that motivation plays a significant role on students’ performance in
senior design capstone courses.3,68 As such, we implement qualitative research methods to assist
in explaining this phenomenon.
2.1.1. Senior Design at Florida Institute of Technology
At Florida Institute of Technology, senior capstone design course spans across three semesters:
second semester of junior year, first semester of senior year, and second semester of senior year.
The first course of the sequence, Design Methodologies, introduces students to formal design
methodology in an attempt to prepare students for their senior design project. The objective of this
course is to equip students with the design knowledge necessary to successfully complete their
design project. The course objectives of Design Methodologies are:
Utilize various design tools, techniques, and methods employed in engineering design;
Successfully manage and document projects;
Recognize the role of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation in design; and
Apply the fundamental concepts of professional and ethical responsibility
Students in the Design Methodologies course are required to provide the instructor with their top
three choices of projects they wish to work on or team mates they want to pair with for the senior
capstone design course. They are provided with the list of industry, competition, and university
project topics. Students typically select projects based on personal interest and career goals. In all
cases, students are assigned to a project (or team mate) that was listed in one of their three choices.
Most of the students are assigned to their first choice of project or teammate.
During the two senior design courses, students work on their project within their project team. The
course allows the student to demonstrate their understanding of the theory in a practical real world
engineering challenge and gain experience. Teams present weekly to an advisory board consisting
of at least a customer, professor, and a graduate student. This advisory board serves to monitor
student progress throughout the course of the project. During the first semester, students define
their problem statement, develop requirements, generate concepts, and present a preliminary
design review (PDR). During the second semester, teams fabricate their design, perform testing,
and iterate as needed before submitting their critical design review (CDR) at the culmination of
the project.
2.2. Student Motivation
This paper considers motivation as the lens for which we will perform the study. Motivation is
considered here as a students natural inclination to select a specific type of project versus another
an inclination we believe is rooted in motivation. Often, students select projects based on their
future goals or personal interests. Consider a case where students want to work for NASA in their
professional career. In this instance, a student would put aside their automotive interests and select
a NASA project ahead of the SAE formula competition project. To that end, we consider
motivation when investigating students’ selection of projects and the changes of motivation
throughout the year. Studies have shown a relation between student’s beliefs about themselves
regarding skills they possess in engineering and their future career decisions.9,10 To measure
motivation, we utilize the MSLQ.11,12 The MSLQ is a robust survey that has been used in various
types of learning contexts outside of engineering such as medicine.11 The instrument measures
five major factors of motivation through self-assessment by the participants. The instrument uses
a 7 point Likert scale where students self-identify their motivation level by rating between “not
true to me” and “very true to me”. This questionnaire is designed to measure motivation through
five individual factors: cognition value, intrinsic value, self-regulation, presentation anxiety, and
self-efficacy. According to Pintrich.11,12 these five factors are some of the important factors in
identifying student motivation. This instrument is flexible in that it can be used as a single tool to
measure 15 factors using 81 items or factors can be used independently depending on the context
of the research.13
This research is built on the foundation of the MSLQ and motivation factors. One factor that could
contribute to motivation is the type of projects students are assigned. Specifically, in industry based
projects where an immediate customer (external to the school) exists, will students possess a
different type of motivation?
The authors hypothesize that a factor that could contribute to motivation are the type of projects
students are assigned. Specifically, the authors aim to determine whether industry based projects,
where an immediate customer (external to the school) exists, influence the students’ motivation
levels throughout the course of senior capstone design.
Cognition is defined as a student’s ability to conceive information and to process it though
individual capability.14 It also includes processes like analyzing and problem solving,14 which
industry has particularly identified while hiring engineers. There have been instances when
students feel lack of self-judgment and problem solving ability when they are hired due to little or
no exposure to industry/real world problems. There is a continuous effort from both the educators
and engineering industry to lessen this gap and prepare the students to face the real-world industry
environment. This is one inspiration for incorporating industry sponsored projects in senior
capstone design as it gives students an opportunity to get a close view of the working environment
and methods they need to adapt to before entering industry.
Intrinsic value is the inclination of a student’s participation in activities that involve individual
curiosity or enjoyment of the activity.11,15 Student’s often tend to lose interest if they face
unfamiliar coursework, making senior design an interesting course to measure intrinsic value. This
could be applicable in the case where students join a competition project despite their inclination
toward industry projects or humanitarian projects. This not only results in the student losing
interest in terms of course work, but also affects their motivation level by going through mandatory
and unexciting project responsibilities. Thus making the student feel out of place and
disinterested.3
Self-regulation is the student’s ability to organize oneself in terms of necessary of course work or
assigned responsibilities.3,11 Self-regulation not only affects individual motivation, but for a team
project like capstone design, it also contributes to team dynamics and overall performance of the
team. This is different from cognitive value as it focuses on the structured method to achieve the
team’s goal.3
Test anxiety is the anxiousness experienced by an individual while appearing for a test,11 which is
altered for the purpose of this study to focus on presentations. Industry sponsored project teams
have a more rigorous presentation schedules in comparison to the non-industry project teams at
Florida Institute of Technology. This is because the industry sponsored projects are funded by the
private or government companies, therefore they are presenting to the client on a weekly basis.
This gives industry teams more opportunities to present their progress/update to their clients and
also to the instructors of the course.
Self-efficacy is an essential component of cognition theory.16 Self-efficacy is defined as one’s
ability to complete a task by taking necessary actions towards that goal.16,17 Self-efficacy have
shown signs of connection between student’s performance and persistence.18 Self-efficacy is
further described as an amalgamation of these four traits which ultimately lead to completion of a
task or a goal:17
1. Previous performance experiences or achievements
2. Past experiences of enjoying the participation or work
3. Peer/societal persuasions towards something
4. Physiological scenarios
These four traits adds up to define a student’s self-efficacy. The term self-efficacy was introduced
in the year of 1997.13 Various non-engineering fields have reported to use self-efficacy for
analyzing social skills, behavior, and more.19
Our study measures the above described five factors through the MSLQ questionnaire to identify
student’s motivation levels at the beginning and end of the senior capstone design course. These
factors are affected by the student’s experiences with their work or their gradual outlook towards
a task/goal. Thus, this research aims to examine whether the student’s project choice affects their
motivation factors.
2.3. Industry Projects
Industry sponsored projects have problem statements that are provided by the company, which is
typically a problem they are currently addressing or wish to in the future. The problem statement
is provided to the team when entering senior capstone design. Typically, the industry sponsor will
host a project kick-off where they provide students with the project, a list of requirements, and
their internal deadlines. In some instances, students have to develop their own requirements
through various methods.20,21 The goal of industry sponsored teams is to provide the company
with a feasible solution that meets all their requirements under time and budget constraints. As
part of the week to week assignments for the team, an industry representative attends their weekly
presentations and provides feedback to the teams and the faculty. The aim of industry sponsored
projects is to give students an opportunity to closely work with industry clients and on a problem
faced in such an environment, thereby gaining valuable experience before they enter the
workforce. Various industry sponsored projects offered include, but are not limited to: NASA JPL,
U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin, Harris Corporations, Google, Northrop Grumman, and United
Launch Alliance. An example industry sponsored project problem statement is shown below:
Sponsor: NASA JPL
The goal of this project is to develop an automated measurement flight hardware
connector Break Out Box (BOB) flight applications but require additional
features and modifications beyond that of a traditional Smart BOB 1.0. A BOB
coupled with your innovative electrical measurement and value verification
electronics, cables and software will constitute a “SMART BOB Measurement
System”. A BOB used to take powered off and powered on safe to mate electrical
measurements from the UUT (Unit Under Test) in electrical integration
procedures. A BOB is a large box with 2 connectors (Blk J1, Blk J2). The black
and red circular inputs are terminal posts each accounting for one pin on the UUT
connector. A BOB is connected in between the UUT and the BOB or in between
the UUT and another electronic assemble. The electrical test engineer selectively
measures voltage, current or resistance on each and every pin of the UUT with a
multi-meter, scope, or current probe per directions documented in an electrical
integration procedure. Currently these measurements are taken and documented
manually. The goal of this project is to automate the measurement taking,
documenting and measurement verification process. You are tasked with
developing an automated SMART BOB system by completion of Senior Design.
Research has shown that first-hand experience on an industry sponsored project helps create a
foundation for future industry needs.22 For example, a senior capstone design course developed at
Brigham Young University focused solely on the industrial design and manufacturing. The school
found that student were excited to see their ideas transform into reality through the use of
manufacturing.22 Similar to industry projects, industry sponsored projects tend to be
multidisciplinary in terms of team make up and project requirements.
2.4. Non Industry Projects
Non-industry projects are sub divided into two categories: competition and humanitarian teams.
Competition teams include, but are not limited to: Formula SAE, Baja SAE, and Drag Car. These
teams work towards building a car or redesigning an existing model to compete at a national level
competition at the end of the academic year. Competition teams are generally larger in size
compared to that of their industry sponsored counterpart. The larger teams are typically comprised
of smaller sub teams that focus on subject areas such as powertrain, chassis, and suspension.
Competition teams face a different challenge as leadership is critical to ensure the team is
functioning properly. Moreover, the systems engineering aspect of the design plays a critical role
to ensure all sub teams are properly communicating and interfacing. These types of projects usually
offer students a different type of learning (hence why we hypothesize there are differences in
student motivation between project types). An example competition project problem statement is
shown below:
Project: Formula SAE
Your objective is to develop a Formula style race car for a fictional manufacturing
company to be evaluated at the annual Formula SAE Competition. The
functioning vehicle will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
The goal for the Formula SAE team is to design and develop the race car by end
of fall semester. Further, the spring semester should be utilized for testing and
detailing. The primary goal of the competition is to finish in the top 40% of all
vehicles who finish the race.
Humanitarian projects are intended to address students who have altruistic engineering thrusts.
The humanitarian projects were implemented through petition from students and have since
become a staple in senior design projects. In humanitarian projects, students are tasked with
developing their own project statement based on needs they find through research. The
humanitarian teams begin developing their problem statements toward the end of their junior
design course, directly after they are assigned their project team. Their advisory committee,
comprised of the course professor, graduate students assistants, and university representatives,
assist the students with making a project choice that is within the scope of senior design. This
includes developing their problem statement and determining the deliverables, time, and budget
constraints of the project. Humanitarian projects range in scope from design and development of
a system (including relevant background research, calculations, and formulation of a design) to a
complete design and construction of a working system.
The objective is to solve a problem while providing a cost effective solution as most humanitarian
efforts occur in third world countries. An example humanitarian project problem statement is
shown below:
Engineering Design
150
Cost & Manufacturing Analysis
100
Presentation
75
Acceleration
75
Skidpad
50
Autocross
150
Fuel Economy
100
Endurance
300
Total Points
1,000
To become a successful engineer, you must have an ability to create personal,
economic, and societal value in your work. The aim of this project is to seek an
outreach opportunity and to design and develop a system to meet that need. This
challenging problem will require you create a system that both serves the need of
a third world country and is affordable to its potential users. This project is
unique in that you are able to find your own opportunity and perform the research
necessary to identify the need.
Ideas must be pragmatic, unique, and have the opportunity to succeed in the
market. You are encouraged to seek other opportunities for funding to support
you in your efforts. Moreover, this project would be considered a success if a
plan for mass production is prepared (or stated) by project completion.
2.5. Project Evaluation
Though projects may be different in thrust and goals, all projects are required to follow a
systematic process that is graded as such. The teams follow a systematic design process whereby
they develop requirements, generate concepts, perform concept analysis/justification, perform
experiments/testing, and recommend a final solution. Two formal deliverables are expected in the
form of a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and Critical Design Review (CDR) at the end of the
fall and spring semester, respectively. The deliverables are uniform throughout the course to ensure
each students learns how to implement the formal systematic design process. It is expected and
anticipated that each team will exhaust varying times on each of the various steps however. For
instance, the humanitarian teams will exhaust more time on requirements elicitation as they have
to generate their own set of requirements from scratch.
3. Research Method
This research was performed through the use of three cohorts of senior capstone design students.
Each cohort participated in the research where they self-evaluated their motivation level through
the MSLQ survey. Case studies are a popular experiment type in both academic and corporate
settings.22,23 Since the objective of this research is exploratory in nature as we attempt to identify
differences in motivation and project types, a case study approach is used.
3.1. Survey Instrument
The instrument used in this study combines both the MSLQ survey and student’s assigned project
detail. Students were given the adapted version of the MSLQ survey which consisted of 43
questions to self-report their motivation level on a 7 point Likert scale. Five factors were studied
within the student cohorts: cognitive value, self-regulation, presentation anxiety, intrinsic value,
and self-efficacy. The student’s motivation was studied at two instances in time: the beginning of
the fall semester and at the end of the spring semester of senior capstone design. Table 1 shows
number of questions related to each factor defining overall motivation.
Table 1: Motivation factors in MSLQ survey
Motivation Factors
Number of
Questions
Cognitive Value
12
Self-regulation
9
Intrinsic Value
9
Self-efficacy
9
Presentation Anxiety
4
3.2. Study Subjects
The instrument was administered to a total of 188 senior design students studying mechanical
engineering over the three year cohort period (2013-14, 2014-15, and 2016-17). All students in the
course were seniors enrolled in mechanical engineering with an expected graduation at the end of
the year. Table 2 details the project and gender data of the subjects.
Table 2: Subjects Gender and Project Selection Information
Non-Industry
Total
Competition
Humanitarian
Male
92
23
170
Female
8
3
18
Total
100
26
188
3.3. Data Collection
Data was collected twice during the academic year: at the beginning of the fall semester and the
end of the spring semester. Students were asked to volunteer for this study by participating in the
MSLQ survey. The MSLQ survey tool used in this study is an adapted version of Pintrich’s MSLQ.
The survey consisted of 43 questions designed to identify the motivation level as it related to senior
design. Minor changes were made to the questions to put them in the context of senior design. For
instance, since senior design does not include tests or examinations, questions relating to test
anxiety were converted to presentation anxiety. Questions were not significantly changed and
terms that were applicable to senior design were incorporated. The adapted version of the MSLQ
used in this study is shown in the appendix. Since the core purpose of the questions were not
changed, the instrument did not need to be revalidated through a confirmatory factor analysis.
The questions in the survey aim at addressing the five factors contributing to the overall motivation
of an individual. The questions addressing each of the five factors are shown in the MSLQ survey
in the appendix. For example, Q1: I prefer class work that is challenging so I can learn new
things, represents intrinsic value for calculating an individual student’s motivation. Similarly the
other questions aim at determining the average value for each of the five factors.
3.4. Data Analysis
To address the research questions posed, multiple statistical analysis methods are employed.
ANOVA single factor and t-tests are performed on the data collected from a total of 188 students
during their respective senior capstone design course. The statistical analysis compared student
motivational factors to their selection of an industry sponsored or non-industry project. The
objective of the analysis is to answer our research questions by examining how student’s choices
of senior capstone design projects affect their motivation throughout the course and how this
motivation changes during their final year in the engineering school. The statistical analysis
considers p<0.05 to be statistically significant. However, values of p<0.10 are maintained for
discussion purposes.
ANOVA is used initially to determine if there are differences in student motivation between the
three project types (industry, competition, humanitarian). The analysis considered the motivation
at the beginning (fall), end (spring) and change from beginning to end (delta). Factors that
demonstrated a difference in the ANOVA were further segmented into industry and non-industry
projects so a t-test may be performed.
4. Results
The results will discuss both the ANOVA and t-tests results obtained from the statistical analysis.
ANOVA single factor analysis and t-test are some of the most commonly used statistical tools in
quantitative research method.
4.1. ANOVA Single Factor analysis
The five factors contributing to student’s motivation were analyzed using ANOVA and t-tests
where appropriate. The ANOVA analysis assisted in determining where differences between
responses were observed.
Results obtained from the statistical analysis reveal that cognition was lower in students involved
in the industry projects in the beginning of the academic year (i.e. the fall semester) in comparison
to students in competition and university project types. Table 3 shows the results obtained from
the fall semester data with respect to cognitive value. However delta cognitive value increased
significantly in the industry group with a value of 0.19±0.89 in comparison to other teams.
Interestingly, the industry projects were the only type to reveal an increase in cognition throughout
the semester. However, it should be noted that industry projects started the lowest of the three
during the fall semester.
Table 3: Fall and Delta Cognitive Values
Teams
(Cognitive Value)
Fall
x
̅ ± σ
Delta
x
̅ ± σ
Competition
5.24±0.67
-0.01±0.97
Industry
4.96±0.72
0.19±0.89
Humanitarian
5.35±0.62
-0.29±0.95
p-value
0.013
0.087
As shown in Table 4, the analysis revealed that competition teams had higher intrinsic value in the
spring semester. Industry and competition teams did not have a significant difference in their
average values. While industry teams showed a notable increase when compared to the delta value
with other teams, it was not this way for competition and university teams. No differences were
observed between teams for intrinsic motivation in the fall semester.
Table 4: Spring and Delta Intrinsic Motivation Value
Teams
(Intrinsic Motivation)
Spring
x
̅ ± σ
Delta
x
̅ ± σ
Competition
6.24±0.61
0.57 ± 0.88
Industry
5.98±0.69
0.32 ± 0.69
Humanitarian
5.85±0.84
0.25 ± 0.54
p-value
0.009
0.058
As shown in Table 5, self-efficacy is higher in competition teams in the spring semester. Industry
teams were the median value for self-efficacy in the spring semester compared to the rest of the
teams. The delta value for the industry teams was again the median in comparison to competition
and humanitarian, indicating the competition teams had the highest self-efficacy in the spring and
delta values. No differences were observed between teams for self-efficacy in the fall semester.
Table 5: Spring and Delta Self Efficacy Values
Teams
(Self-Efficacy)
Spring
x
̅ ± σ
Delta
x
̅ ± σ
Competition
6.17±0.62
0.73±0.90
Industry
5.92±0.67
0.51±0.80
Humanitarian
5.58±0.84
0.32±0.66
p-value
0.0002
0.048
As shown in Table 6, industry sponsored projects possessed lower self-regulation in the student
cohorts in the beginning of the fall semester. Competition teams had the highest self-regulation
when entering the senior capstone design course. No differences were observed between teams for
self-regulation in the spring semester and deltas between fall and spring.
Table 6: Self-Regulation Vales during Fall Semester
Teams
(Self-Regulation)
Fall
x
̅ ± σ
Competition
5.20±0.83
Industry
4.80±0.85
Humanitarian
5.05±0.69
p-value
0.013
As shown in Table 7, the presentation anxiety was lower among industry team students in the
beginning of the academic year. Humanitarian teams had the highest presentation anxiety in the
fall semester. No differences were observed between teams for presentation anxiety in the spring
semester and deltas between fall and spring
Table 7: Presentation Anxiety
Teams
(Test-Anxiety)
Fall
x
̅ ± σ
Competition
4.33 ± 1.70
Industry
3.76±1.64
Humanitarian
4.55±1.48
p-value
0.048
A summary of the results is shown in Table 8. The table highlights the statistically significant
findings revealed through the ANOVA analysis.
Table 8: Statistically Significant Results of ANOVA Analysis
Factor
Survey
Notable observations
Cognition
Fall
Industry teams (4.96±0.73) had lower cognition than competition teams
(5.24±0.67) in the beginning of the fall semester
Self-Regulation
Fall
Industry (4.80±0.85) had lower self-regulation in the beginning of the fall
semester
Anxiety
Fall
Industry (3.76±1.64) showed lower anxiety in the beginning
Intrinsic
Spring
Competition (6.24±0.61) had higher intrinsic value among all teams
Efficacy
Spring
Industry (5.92±0.67) had midway self-efficacy
Cognition
Delta
Industry (0.19±0.89) increased in cognition
Intrinsic
Delta
Industry (0.32±0.69) intrinsic value increased about midway to other teams
Efficacy
Delta
Industry (0.51±0.80) efficacy increased about midway at the end
4.2. Mean Comparison Results
To further analyze the ANOVA results, a t-test is performed to compare project types for fall,
spring, and deltas in motivational factors. The factors in the Table 9 are the statistically significant
results that reject the null hypothesis between industry and non-industry teams. Non-industry
teams are a combination of the competition and humanitarian teams.
Table 9: Means and Standard Deviations of Statistically Significant Factors
Factors
Industry Teams
x
̅ ± σ
Non Industry Teams
x
̅ ± σ
p-value
Fall-cognition
4.96±0.72
5.30±0.65
0.004
Fall-self-regulation
4.80±1.64
5.12±0.76
0.005
Fall-anxiety
3.76±1.64
4.46±1.60
0.017
Delta-cognition
0.19±0.89
-0.15±0.96
0.079
Delta-self-regulation
0.09±1.00
0.39±0.97
0.061
5. Discussion
The results obtained from this research aim to improve the project offering by schools and
educators. The aim was to find which factors affect the motivation, results collected from the
analysis aim to improve those and provide educators with a deeper insight.
5.1. ANOVA Single Factor Analysis for Senior Project Groups
The results obtained from our analysis state that cognition was higher among the competition
teams compared to industry teams in the fall semester. Industry teams (4.96±0.73) had lower
cognition in the beginning of the fall semester when they were introduced to the project with a
significant f statistic value of 4.44. However the delta cognition value for industry teams increased
(0.19±0.89) indicating that the teams develop the ability to solve and analyze problems throughout
the course of senior capstone design. This could be attributed to their experience working on a
real-world industry project, thus increasing motivation. On the other hand, the non-industry teams
showed a decrease cognitive value. To achieve similar cognitive gains, some of the attributes of
industry projects should be implemented within non-industry projects. For instance, consider the
continually changing requirements that industry projects have to deal with, often coined the
“moving target” effect. Educators should consider implementing such attributes as students may
grow from the challenging experience.
For the intrinsic factor, results show that the competition teams had a higher intrinsic value
(6.24±0.61) compared to the industry and university teams in the spring semester. The delta
intrinsic value shows that industry teams increased to the median value indicating that the intrinsic
value increases across the two semesters. The f statistic for spring intrinsic value is 4.85 which is
higher than f critical (3.0447) thus making it a significant result. This may have been due to the
project type that they are involved with; industry projects allow students to experience real-world
prompts, therefore improving their confidence as an engineer over the course of senior capstone
design. This could also be impacted by feedback from their industry representatives. Intrinsic
motivation has been shown to be impacted by extrinsic motivation.24 Therefore, positive feedback
from their industry client regarding their deliverable at the end of the course can increase the
student’s intrinsic value.
Self-efficacy is the conscious awareness of successfully completing any task based on an
individual’s ability.17 The analysis of self-efficacy among the senior students showed that industry
teams were the median group for self-efficacy in the spring semester. The delta value for self-
efficacy also was the middle value, with the industry teams experiencing an increase in self-
efficacy. This indicates that the students on industry teams experienced an increase in confidence
throughout the course of senior capstone design. This could be due to the fact that industry projects
are one way of providing the student with real world projects, thus creating a connection between
the coursework and its applications.
When asked to evaluate themselves on the MSLQ survey, our analysis showed that industry team
students exhibited lower self-regulation in the beginning of the senior design capstone course.
Competition teams however showed the highest self-regulation. This could be contributed to the
fact that competition team students have previously involved themselves on the team during their
junior design or in SAE clubs. This makes these students more aware of the tasks they need to do
or the path to follow. Industry teams, on the other hand, face the completely new environment of
the real-world industry problems, decreasing their self-regulation.
Presentation anxiety refers to the nervousness a student encounters during presentations. Our
results show that industry team students had the lowest presentation anxiety among all the other
teams. The fall data states that they were confident to present in comparison to students of the
other teams. Soft skills play an equal role in the success of an engineer to the technical skill sets.
Industry teams get an extra layer of exposure to overcome presentation anxiety and thus we
hypothesize that it does plays a significant role in the overall motivation of the senior capstone
design students.
Thus from the ANOVA analysis performed on the cohorts of senior design students, the industry
teams started their senior capstone design course with lower cognition and lower self-regulation
than the non-industry teams. They also started with lower presentation anxiety indicating they were
confident and motivated to present to their client and take up the task of solving their problem
statement. Industry teams showed an increase in their cognition and self-efficacy near the
completion of the course and competition teams had the highest intrinsic motivation by the end of
the academic year. Industry teams increased cognition, self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation in
comparison to competition and university teams by the end of the spring semester. Thus it can be
stated that involvement with an industry project helped students to gain confidence and increased
their motivation as they felt a connection to the industry environment and better equipped to face
such a challenge in future. As educators we can incorporate certain attributes from the findings in
the way we cater the senior design projects to students.
5.2. Mean Comparison of Projects
The aim of the t-test was check our null hypothesis that there is a difference in motivation
depending on the type of projects students select for their senior year. For this research the p-value
<0.05 was taken as desirable. Results show that industry teams started with low cognitive value,
self-regulation, and presentation anxiety in the fall semester with significant p values. The non-
industry teams exhibited higher motivation at the beginning of the semester. The delta value shows
that industry teams increased in cognitive value and self-regulation during the duration of the
course. Thus indicating that all the teams started at different levels, but throughout the course of
senior capstone design developed similar motivation. This is a significant observation that students
who entered senior design with low motivation rose to the same level as other students.
5.3. Study Limitations
It’s important to note that while the motivation level of students is measured against various types
of projects, we do not consider the effects this has on student performance on the project. While
such a study is necessary, it is outside the scope of this particular paper and will be studied in
subsequent papers. Thus, this paper focuses on determining if there are differences between student
motivation in project selection, which is a necessary question that must be addressed before
determining its effect on their performance in the course.
6. Conclusion
Students with low or average motivation in the beginning of the senior capstone design course
showed an increase in motivation by the end of the course. This indicates that there are factors that
exist in senior capstone design that increase the student’s motivation throughout the course. This
study finds that some of those factors may be related to the student’s choice of project, as our
analysis indicates that industry teams showed an increase in motivation by the completion of the
senior capstone design course. Students associated with industry teams begin the senior capstone
design course with low motivation, but showed an increase by the end of spring semester. Weekly
association with their industry client and receiving positive feedback regarding their designs and
ideas made them more confident in their ability as an engineer. Conversely, non-industry team
students had high motivation at the beginning of the fall semester of senior capstone design, which
remained consistent by the end of spring semester.
With the goal of senior design capstone courses in mind, this research assists engineering educators
determine which type of project offers should be available to students. As anticipated, there are
different gains achieved depending on the type of project that students work on. As a result,
educators must be considerate of the impact that project may have on the student and what may be
best suited for their future.
7. References
1. Todd, R., Magleby, S., Sorensen, C., Swan, B. & Anthony, D. A Survey of Capstone
Engineering Courses in North America. J. Eng. Educ. 84, 165174 (1995).
2. Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A. F., Garcia, T. & Mckeachie, W. J. A Manual for the Use of
the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionaire (MSLQ). (1991).
3. Kames, E., Shah, D. D. & Morkos, B. A longitudinal study exploring motivation factors in
cornerstone and capstone design courses. in ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition,
Conference Proceedings 2018June, (2018).
4. Dutson, a J., Todd, R. H., Magleby, S. P. & Sorensen, C. D. A Review of Literature on
Teaching Engineering Design Through Project- Oriented Capstone Courses. J. Eng. Educ.
86, 1728 (1997).
5. Morkos, B., Joshi, S., Summers, J. D. & Mocko, G. M. Requirements and Data Content
Evaluation of Industry In-House Data Management System. in International Design
Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering
Conference DETC2010-28548 (ASME, 2010).
6. Joshi, S, Morkos, B, Shankar, P. & Summers, J. D. Requirements in Engineering Design:
What are We Teaching. in Tools and Methods for Competitive Engineering (TMCE 2012)
No--38 (2012).
7. Lynch, P., Sangelkar, S., Demeo, G. & Morkos, B. The I-C-D-M methodology: Improving
undergraduate engineering student motivation, satisfaction, and performance. in
Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2017Octob, (2017).
8. Bessette, A., Okafor, V. & Morkos, B. Correlating Student Motivation to Course
Performance in Capstone Design. in ASME International Design Engineering Technical
Conferences DETC2015-47604 (2014). doi:35506
9. Lent, R. W., Sheu, H-B., Singley, D., Schmidt, J. A., Schmidth, L. C., Gloster, C, S.
Longitudinal relations of self-efficacy to outcome expectations, interests, and major
choice goals in engineering students. J. Vocat. Bhaviour 73, 328335 (2008).
10. Zeldin, A. L., Britner, S. L. & Pajares, F. A comparative study of the self-efficacy beliefs
of successful men and women in mathematics, science, and technology careers. J. Res.
Sci. Teach. 45, 10361058 (2008).
11. Pintrich, P. et al. A Manual for the Use of the Motivated Strategies for Learning
Questionnaire (MSLQ). (1991).
12. Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A., Garcia, T. & McKeachie, W. J. Reliability and
predictivevalidity of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ). Educ.
Psychol. Meas. 53, 801813 (1993).
13. Todd, D., Thomas, J. & Michael, A. Pre-Collegiate Factors Influencing the Self-Efficacy
of Engineering Students. J. Eng. Educ. 100, 604623 (2011).
14. Barak, M. A Model for Promoting Cognition , Metacognition and Motivation in the
Technological Class: The Theory of Self- Regulated Learning. Am. Soc. Eng. Educ.
(2010).
15. Pulford, S., Tan, J., Gonzalez, M. R. & Modell, A. Satisfaction: Intrinsic and Extrinsic
Motivation in Engineering Writing Coursework. 125th ASEE Annu. Conf. Expo. (2018).
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17. Kolar, H., Carberry, A. R. & Certificate, G. Measuring computing self-efficacy creating
and validating a computing self-efficacy tool. in ASEE Annual Conference and
Exposition, Conference Proceedings 17 (2013).
18. Multon, K. D., Brown, S. D. & Lent, R. W. Relation of Self-Efficacy Beliefs to Academic
Outcomes: A Meta-Analytic Investigation. J. Couns. Psychol. 38, 3038 (1991).
19. Pajares, F. Self-Efficacy in Acaemic Settings.Pdf. Rev. Educ. Res. 66(4), 543578 (1996).
20. Morkos, B. & Summers, J. D. Requirements Elicitation Through Use of Personas. in 2010
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Integrated Methods. in International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and
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22. Todd, R. H., Sorensen, C. D. & Magleby, S. P. Designing a Senior Capstone Course to
Satisfy Industrial Customers. J. Eng. Educ. 82, 92100 (1993).
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Leanne McGrimmond 2009 SI. (2009).
8. Appendix:
Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire
Name ______________________ Team: ______________
1. Florida Tech ID Number (e.g. 900XXXXXX): ________________________________
2. What is your academic standing?
O Freshman
O Sophomore
O Junior
O Senior
3. Were you a transfer student? O Yes O No
4. Are you a domestic or international student? O Domestic O International
a. If international, state your country: _________________________
b. If domestic, what is the Zip Code of your permanent home address (back home)?
________________
5. What is the highest degree earned by your parents? _________________________
6. What is your gender? O Female O Male O Do not want to report
7. What is your age group? O 17-20 O 21-24 O 25 and above O Do not want to report
8. With which racial group(s) do you identify? (Mark ALL that apply)
O African-American or Black O Caucasian or White
O South Asian (e.g. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, etc.) O Other Asian
O East Asian (e.g. Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc.) O Native Hawaiian or Pacific
Islander
O American Indian or Alaskan Native O
Other_________________________
O Do not want to report
Rate the following items based on your behavior in this class. Your rating should be on a 7-point scale
where
1= not at all true of me to 7=very true of me.
Question
Not
True
Very
True
(IV) I prefer work that is challenging so I can learn new
things.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) Compared with other students in senior design I expect
to do well
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(PA) I am so nervous during a presentation that I cannot
remember facts I have learned
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) It is important for me to learn what is being taught in
this class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) I like what I am learning
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) I’m certain I can understand the ideas taught in this
course
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) I think I will be able to use what I learn in this class in
my life
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) I expect to do very well in this class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) Compared with others in this class, I think I’m a good
student
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) I often choose research topics I will learn something
from even if they require more work
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) I am sure I can do an excellent job on the problems and
tasks assigned
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(PA) I have an uneasy, upset feeling when I present
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) I think I will receive a good grade in this class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) Even when I do poorly, I try to learn from my mistakes
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) I think that what I am learning in this class is useful for
me to know
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) My study skills are excellent compared with others in
this class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) I think that what we are learning in this class is
interesting
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) Compared with other students in this class I think I
know a great deal about the subject
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SE) I know that I will be able to learn the material for this
class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(PA) I worry a great deal about presentations
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(IV) Understanding the design process is important to me
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(PA) When I present I think about how poorly I am doing
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When I do homework, I try to remember what the
teacher said in class so I can answer the questions correctly
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) I ask myself questions to make sure I know the material
I have been studying
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) It is hard for me to decide what the main ideas are in
what I read
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) When work is hard I either give up or study only the
easy parts
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When I prepare for a presentation I put important ideas
into my own words
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) I always try to understand what the teacher is saying
even if it doesn’t make sense.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When I prepare for a presentation I try to remember as
many facts as I can
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When preparing for a presentation, I copy my notes
over to help me remember material
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) I practice presentations even when I don’t have to
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) Even when study materials are dull and uninteresting, I
keep working until I finish
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When I prepare for a presentation, I practice saying the
important facts over and over to myself
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) Before I begin studying I think about the things I will
need to do to learn
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) I use what I have learned from previous classes to do
prepare for project work
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) I often find that I have been reading for class but don’t
know what it is all about.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) I find that when the teacher is talking I think of other
things and don’t really listen to what is being said
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When I am studying a topic, I try to make everything fit
together
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) When I’m reading I stop once in a while and go over
what I have read
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When I read materials for this class, I say the words
over and over to myself to help me remember
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) I outline the relevant topics to help me prepare for a
presentation
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(SR) I work hard to get a good grade even when I don’t like a
class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
(CV) When reading I try to connect the things I am reading
about with what I already know.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
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1. Exercise of personal and collective efficacy in changing societies Albert Bandura 2. Life trajectories in changing societies Glen Elder 3. Developmental analysis of control beliefs August Flammer 4. Impact of family processes on self-efficacy Klaus A. Schneewind 5. Cross-cultural perspectives on self-efficacy beliefs Gabriele Oettingen 6. Self-efficacy in educational development Barry Zimmerman 7. Self-efficacy in career choice and development Gail Hackett 8. Self efficacy and health Ralf Schwarzer and Reinhard Fuchs 9. Self-efficacy and alcohol and drug abuse Alan Marlatt, John S. Baer and Lori A. Quigley.
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