Title: A Neurocognitive Exploration of Student Motivation Toward Design Problem Stimuli

November 3, 2022

Abstract: Prior research suggests the inclination to ‘design and build’ attracts students to engineering, highlighting the importance of design in student motivation toward pursuing engineering. However, students have preferences for the type of design problems they wish to solve as such projects frame their understanding of the engineering practice and could have an impact on their performance in design courses and persistence in engineering. Our prior studies in cornerstone and capstone design have determined that students evaluate design problems through two dimensions: open-endedness (the design space for which students have to operate) and social value (the perceived impact of the project on humanity). Given the significance of motivation on student learning, performance and persistence in engineering programs, it is important to study this phenomenon through a deeper, formal inquiry. This presentation presents the initial studies performed in understanding student motivation toward varying design problems along the aforementioned dimensions. In this mixed methods study, we explore this phenomenon through a neurocognitive lens to determine brain activity when students are presented with various design problem stimuli. Further, a recall reflection interview is performed to reinforce and explain student motivation toward particular design problems. Beshoy Morkos_November 4_2022