Title

A Multimodal Exploration of Engineering Students' Emotions and Electrodermal Activity in Design Activities

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-29-2018

Publication Title

Journal of Engineering Education

Volume

107

Issue

3

First page number:

414

Last page number:

441

Abstract

Background This exploratory study uses multimodal approaches to explore undergraduate student engagement via topic emotions and electrodermal activity (EDA) in different engineering design method activities and with different instructional delivery formats (e.g., lecture vs. active learning). Purpose/Hypothesis The goal of this research is to improve our understanding of how students respond, via engagement, to their engineering design activities during class. This study hypothesizes that students would experience no self‐reported mean changes in topic emotions from their preassessment scores for each engineering design topic and instructional format nor would electrodermal activities (EDA) associate to these topic emotions throughout the design activities. Design/Method Eighty‐eight freshmen engineering students completed online pretopic and posttopic emotions surveys for five engineering design activities. A subset of 14–18 participants, the focal point of this study, wore an EDA sensor while completing the surveys and participating in these sessions. Results Preliminary findings suggest that EDA increased for individual and collaborative active learning activities compared to lectures. No significant changes in EDA were found between individual and collaborative active learning activities. Moderate negative correlations were found between EDA and negative topic emotions in the first engineering design activity but not across the rest. At the end of the semester, active learning activities showed higher effect sizes indicating a re‐enforcement of students' engagement in the engineering design method activities. Conclusion This study provides initial results showing how multimodal approaches can help researchers understand students' closer‐to‐real‐time engagement in engineering design topics and instructional delivery formats.

Keywords

Affective theories; Design projects; Electrodermal activity; Learning environment; Multimodal methods

Disciplines

Engineering Education

Language

English

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