Service learning in engineering technology: Do students have preferences on project types?

Philip Appiah-Kubi, Marina Johnson, Emma Trappe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Engineering technology programs dif-fer from engineering by focusing more on hands-on experience. Even though some engineering programs offer hands-on expe-riences, engineering technology programs make these experiences a critical component of all courses. At a private four-year college in the Midwest, project management is a required course for engineering technology majors. Students enrolled in this class are required to complete a team project. The projects, which usually have external clients, can be either engineering-based or non-engi-neering-based. In this course, all projects are service-based, from nonprofit organizations in the community. These organizations usually have insufficient personnel to embark on the projects in-house and may lack the resources to outsource them, but the projects are always critical to their survival. This paper reviews student perception of the two project types and the effects of either type on exam performance. The objective is to deter-mine the perceived effects of the projects on students’ motivation to learn, possible con-tributions to their research knowledge, skills and personal benefits, benefits of the project as a learning tool, and the students’ exam performance. Results of a post-project survey indicate that the projects were all highly perceived by the students as a learning tool. The engineering-based projects, utilizing external clients, appeared to provide a higher motivation to learn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Engineering Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019


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