|Title||Assessing the Impact of Transitioning Introductory Design Instruction to an Online Environment|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Rennick, C., C. Hulls, and A. Gryguc|
|Conference Name||ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition|
In their first academic term (1A), students in the Mechatronics Engineering (MTE) program at the University of Waterloo are required to take 5 courses including programming in C++ (MTE 121 – Digital Computation), and a course which introduces them to the profession (MTE 100 – Mechatronics Engineering). For the last 5 years, these courses have included both a multi-week, integrative, open-ended robotics project with deliverables in both courses, and a 2-day long curricular hackathon dubbed “Tron Days” which further integrates the 1A courses together by having students solve an ill-structured design task. In previous publications on these activities, there has been evidence of growth in student self-efficacy (as described by Bandura) in the skills relating to these projects (viz. programming, design, and teamwork), as well as growth in student epistemological development (as described by Perry). As these courses take place in students’ first academic term, this personal growth is crucial to maintain, even as we transitioned to online instruction for fall 2020. Both courses under study (in both 2019 and 2020) have implemented Felder and Brent’s suggested instructional conditions to facilitate intellectual growth, albeit with different emphases; and so epistemological development is expected in both years.