A longitudinal evaluative study of student difficulties with engineering graphics

TitleA longitudinal evaluative study of student difficulties with engineering graphics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsPotter, C, Van Der Merwe, E, Kaufman, W, Delacour, J
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Date Published2006
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number03043797
KeywordsABILITY , ENGINEERING , Graphics , Mental , perception , SPATIAL , student , STUDENTS , Visualisation
AbstractWe have previously reported in this journal that spatial ability influences academic performance in engineering. We have also reported that spatial ability is trainable, and can be increased through instruction focused on using perception and mental imagery in three-dimensional representation. In this article, we present the results of a longitudinal evaluative study of student difficulties with engineering graphics at our university, involving research over a 24-year period. Prior to our intervention, the first-year engineering graphics course at our university had a failure rate of 36% for all engineering students, and failure rates of 80% for African students studying at our university. In terms of outcomes, our study indicates that changed teaching practices have been associated with increased pass rates, which currently average 88% for all students. There is clear evidence that African students no longer experience major difficulties in passing the course. This can be attributed both to changes in teaching methodology, as well as broader contextual changes occurring in South Africa over the period reviewed.
NotesPotter, Charles 1; Email Address: potterc@umthombo.wits.ac.za Van Der Merwe, Errol 2 Kaufman, Wendy 1 Delacour, Julie 1; Affiliation: 1: School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2: School of Mechanical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Source Info: May2006, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p201; Subject Term: ENGINEERING graphics -- Study & teaching; Subject Term: ENGINEERING -- Study & teaching; Subject Term: ENGINEERING students; Subject Term: ABILITY testing; Subject Term: STUDENTS -- Attitudes; Subject Term: STUDENTS -- Rating of; Subject Term: SPATIAL ability; Subject Term: STUDENT ethics; Subject Term: STUDENT assistance programs; Author-Supplied Keyword: Engineering; Author-Supplied Keyword: Graphics; Author-Supplied Keyword: Mental imagery; Author-Supplied Keyword: Perception; Author-Supplied Keyword: Visualisation; Number of Pages: 14p; Illustrations: 5 Charts; Document Type: Article