The goal of this research study was to empirically study the effects of a project based learning activity. The effectiveness of this study was benchmarked according to two results: the effectiveness in communicating the scope and impact of engineering, and the effectiveness in increasing interest in computer systems engineering (CSE). This research report presents an analysis of the effects of making engineering education socially relevant, interesting and accessible. High school students participated in a learning experience in which they designed flood evacuation systems that could warn a city of incoming floods. Both pre-assessments and post-assessments were implemented to capture students' awareness of engineering tasks and their interest levels in engineering tasks. Data on students' perceptions of specific engineering tasks were analyzed quantitatively through Wilcoxon signed-rank testing and determined that the program had significant positive effects on developing more accurate conceptions of engineering tasks. The results relating to student interest in CSE indicated that there was an increased level of interest in CSE engineering tasks after the program. There was a 14% increase in number of students who found engineering tasks interesting from 64% to 78%. However, as participants self-selected to participate in this learning experience, many students had positive perceptions of engineering tasks prior to engaging in the learning experience. This study was successful and met both of its primary goals of enhancing awareness and interest in engineering in this particular group of high school students.
- SAVE ANVORUNA: THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL RELEVANCE IN COMPUTER SYSTEMS ENGINEERING