First-year engineering student design
Murray, Jaclyn Kuspiel
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation consists of a set of three studies examining two skills important to the engineering community of engineering practice (ECoP): spatial and creative skills. The overall purpose was to understand what repertoires of practice undergraduate students utilize as newcomers to the ECoP through the design of a package. The first study examined how assessments of object manipulation skills compared with one another and across gender. The study focused on, How does gender and spatial skill compare across object manipulation assessments?, which included evaluating correlations between mental rotations and spatial visualization assessment scores. Participants completed the Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Rotations (Revised PSVT: R). Results indicated significantly higher scores for males than females. In addition, mental rotations and spatial visualization results were significantly correlated with one another between and across assessments for male, but not female participants. The second qualitative study explored what introductory prospective engineers know and think about creativity in engineering to understand their implicit theories of design creativity. The study investigated, In what ways do inbound and peripheral legitimate participants in the field of engineering, conceptualize creativity within product design and the design process? Findings revealed varying conceptions of creativity in product design and the design process. The third study integrated spatial and creative skill scores to investigate possible patterns among males and females, and focused, In what ways does first-year engineering students’ spatial skill level relate to creativity in design? Findings suggested participants with high creative product rank scores utilized AutoCAD™, generated many ideas, did not modify designs, and were more likely to consider only one design. When spatial and creative data were merged, for comparison, three findings emerged. Although a small sample size, high creativity was synonymous with highly correlated spatial visualization scores. There were no significant differences in average creative scores between genders, but males did score at the highest levels while females did not. Overall the set of papers contributes to the limited inquiry into domain-specific spatial and creative skills associated with the field of engineering education. Overall findings have implications for pre-college teachers, college level engineering instructors, and policy makers.