Understanding Students’ Incentives for and Barriers to Out-of-Class Participation: Profile of Civil Engineering Student Engagement

Event Date: January 8, 2018
Authors: Matt Ohland, et al.
Journal / Conference: Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering and Practice
This study aims to provide a nuanced profile of civil engineering students’ out-of-class engagement by exploring the supporting incentives and barriers to involvement and the related outcomes.

Data were collected from undergraduate students using the Postsecondary Student Engagement (PosSE) Survey and were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The most prevalent out-of-class activities in which civil engineering students participate were off- or on-campus employment and sports. Civil engineering students identified personal development as the most reported positive outcome and free time was reduced as the most reported negative outcome. Engineering students identified fulfilling personal interests as the number one incentive to participate in out-of-class engagement, and both engineering and civil engineering students identified lack of time, scheduling issues as the number one barrier. Using demographic information, this study identified three groups potentially at-risk of low engagement: women, students who come from low income families, and students whose parents have earned less than a bachelor’s degree.

This study suggests that different disciplines and subpopulations within engineering have specific incentives for and barriers to participation, which policy makers and administrators should consider when creating pathways to support engagement.

Related Link: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000353