Campus Units

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


First Page


Conference Date

June 24-27, 2017


Columbus, OH


The purpose of this study was to understand the how’s, why’s, and what’s behind students’ motivational orientation in a first-year engineering technology course, following a mechatronic project. To accomplish this, we implemented an eight-week treatment that required 61 students to design and integrate a software program to control an electro-mechanical robotic system. Using non-parametric quantitative analyses of pre-/post-survey responses we found that students’ median motivational orientation score,on the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, was significantly lower (Mdndiff= -0.34; W = 1360; p-value = 0.0111) following the mechatronic project (i.e., they were less motivated to engage in the learning process following the project). However, when asked directly,a significantly larger proportion of students reported that it was motivating(= 0.90; p-value < 0.010). To clarify these divergent results, we used a mix of text-mining algorithms and word stem frequency analyses to examine open-ended student responses. From this we discovered the word stems work*, project*, learn*, program*, want*, see*, motiv*, androbot*to be the most prevalent used for “why” the mechatronic project was motivating;the word stems work*, code*, get*, motiv*, robot*, see*, project*, want*, and complet* were the most commonly reported for “what” motivated students. From this we start to uncover the “why’s” and “what’s” behind students’ motivation: namely, that the visual and physical aspects of the mechatronic project were motivating to them.


This proceeding is published as Haughery, John R., D. Raj Raman, Steven A. Freeman, and Amy L. Kaleita. Toward Understanding the Impacts, Whys, and Whats Behind Mechatronicbased Projects and Student Motivation. In 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. 2017. Columbus, OH. June 24-28, 2017. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

American Society for Engineering Education




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