Lessons Learned in Engaging Engineering Students by Improving Their Spatial Visualization Skills

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Research has shown that students with enhanced spatial visualization skills, the ability to see and think in 3-D, are more successful in engineering, technology, computer science, chemistry and mathematics courses. These skills can be developed with training and practice. The three main themes of the ENGAGE grant are Faculty Interaction, Everyday Engineering Examples, and Spatial Visualization. This paper presents lessons learned in an approach to improve students’ spatial visualization skills for increased student success. The proposed methodology includes two steps: identifying students who should receive remediation in spatial visualization and improving the existing Engineering Graphics course offerings. An online test to assess students’ spatial visualization skills created by Purdue University, a partner school in the ENGAGE project, was given to all engineering and science freshman students at XXX University. Based on the results, all students who scored lower than 60% will be recommended to take a spatial visualization course which will be developed as one of the deliverables in the NSF-ENGAGE grant. In addition, by testing students’spatial visualization skills before and after the existing initial Engineering Graphics course,several improvements were implemented. The enhancements to the existing Engineering Graphics course are discussed.

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© 2012 American Society for Engineering Education