ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
This is a Complete Research paper. Understanding models is important for engineering students, but not often taught explicitly in first-year courses. Although there are many types of models in engineering, studies have shown that engineering students most commonly identify prototyping or physical models when asked about modeling. In order to evaluate students' understanding of different types of models used in engineering and the effectiveness of interventions designed to teach modeling, a survey was developed. This paper describes development of a framework to categorize the types of engineering models that first-year engineering students discuss based on both previous literature and students' responses to survey questions about models. In Fall 2019, the survey was administered to first-year engineering students to investigate their awareness of types of models and understanding of how to apply different types of models in solving engineering problems. Students' responses to three questions from the survey were analyzed in this study: 1. What is a model in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields?, 2. List different types of models that you can think of., and 3. Describe each different type of model you listed. Responses were categorized by model type and the framework was updated through an iterative coding process. After four rounds of analysis of 30 different students' responses, an acceptable percentage agreement was reached between independent researchers coding the data. Resulting frequencies of the various model types identified by students are presented along with representative student responses to provide insight into students' understanding of models in STEM. This study is part of a larger project to understand the impact of modeling interventions on students' awareness of models and their ability to build and apply models.
National Science Foundation
Kelsey Joy Rodgers, Angela Thompson, Matthew A. Verleger, Farshid Marbouti, Nishith Shah, and Pujan Thaker. "Types of Models Identified by First-Year Engineering Students" ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings (2021).