Assessing the impact of co-curricular activities: What do undergraduate students learn in a quarter-scale tractor design competition?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper describes a learning outcomes assessment of students who have participated in the ASABE 1/4 Scale Tractor Design Competition. The "lllini Pullers" in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been engaged in this tractor design competition since 2000. Faculty and corporate supporters indicate that student participation in this organization appears to cultivate qualities that The National Academy of Engineering emphasizes in its vision for the "Engineer of 2020," such as communication, teamwork, and business skills; flexibility; professionalism; and creativity. Engagement in co-curricular activities has been shown to positively affect students' educational persistence and attainment, and preliminary evidence indicates that such engagement contributes to engineering students' professional preparation. However, specific outcomes of participation in particular organizations are rarely assessed or documented. Therefore, in this paper we first describe surveys and interview protocols used to elicit students' reflections and perspectives on their learning experiences in the lllini Pullers. We then share findings that elucidate the nature of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that participants develop through this club and competition. Data from surveys of alumni of this organization provide insights into the longer-term impact of their experiences on their professional lives. Implications are considered at two levels: (1) What desired attributes of engineers are developed via participation in the lllini Pullers? (2) How can students and other stakeholders benefit from the learning outcomes assessment process?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2010, ASABE 2010
PublisherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Pages813-823
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781617388354
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2010, ASABE 2010
Volume1

Keywords

  • Co-curricular
  • Design
  • Education
  • Learning outcomes assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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