College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Mechanical Engineering Department


Dr. Amanda Emberley, College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department

Funding Source

Paul and Sandi Bonderson




Cal Poly’s undergraduate engineering program requires a design experience for each of the four years. This research project's focus is to better understand how students are conceptualizing engineering design over their multiple design projects. Data was collected through a comprehensive survey given to 73 engineering students. The questions in this survey targeted student’s comprehension and relationship with design, as well as their demographics and course history. Open-ended questions were organized using a thematic coding system which were then compared to the demographics and course history information. This process resulted in four separate comparisons between the survey questions. Interpreting these results reveals essential information to better support student learning. Correlations point to areas where students may need additional help in design thinking. Themes among the responses indicate students’ thought processes behind engineering design. The next steps for this project include conducting follow-up interviews and further interpreting the results.




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