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ERIC Number: ED516324
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 143
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-6759-9
Characterizing Learning-through-Service Students in Engineering by Gender and Academic Year
Carberry, Adam Robert
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Tufts University
Service is increasingly being viewed as an integral part of education nationwide. Service-based courses and programs are growing in popularity as opportunities for students to learn and experience their discipline. Widespread adoption of learning-through-service (LTS) in engineering is stymied by a lack of a body of rigorous research supporting the effectiveness of these experiences. In this study, I examine learning-through-service through a nationwide survey of engineering undergraduate and graduate students participating in a variety of LTS experiences. Students (N = 322) participating in some form of service--service-learning courses or extra-curricular service programs--from eighty-seven different institutions across the United States completed a survey measuring demographic information (institution, gender, academic year, age, major, and grade point average), self-perceived sources of learning (service and traditional coursework), engineering epistemological beliefs, personality traits, and self-concepts (self-efficacy, motivation, expectancy, and anxiety) toward engineering design. Responses to the survey were used to characterize engineering LTS students and identify differences in these variables in terms of gender and academic year. The overall findings were that LTS students perceived their service experience to be a beneficial source for learning professional skills and, to a lesser degree, technical skills, held moderately sophisticated engineering epistemological beliefs, and were generally outgoing, compassionate, and adventurous. Self-perceived sources of learning, epistemological beliefs, and personality traits were shown to be poor predictors of student engineering achievement. Self-efficacy, motivation, and outcome expectancy toward engineering design were generally high for all LTS students; most possessed rather low anxiety levels toward engineering design. These trends were generally consistent between genders and across the five academic years (first-year, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students) surveyed. Females had significantly more sophisticated epistemological beliefs, greater perceptions of service as a source of learning professional and technical skills, and higher anxiety toward engineering design. They also were significantly more extroverted and agreeable. Males had higher confidence, motivation, and expectancy for success toward engineering design. Across academic year it was seen that students varied in their engineering design self-concepts, except for motivation. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A