Simplify! using self-determination theory to prioritise the redesign of an ethics and history of technology course

Gunter Bombaerts (Corresponding author), Andreas Spahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

A course on ethics and history of technology, taught to 1886 first-year engineering students of 14 engineering departments was redesigned using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) by adapting many course elements at the same time. We applied the situational level of Vallerand’s hierarchical model, analysing how the elements of this ethics and history course influenced basic needs and motivation in a mediating role, which influenced in turn course outcomes. Regression analysis demonstrated the central role of competence in the assignment for intrinsic motivation. A complementary qualitative analysis showed strong polarisation between different types of students and indicated many remaining challenges. We conclude that the Vallerand model was a useful tool for prioritising redesign in this course. We suggest further research in the use of this model, on the role and meaning of competence and on the role of frustration, in ethics and history courses in particular and engineering courses in general.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Early online date25 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Dec 2019

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self-determination
moral philosophy
history
Students
Regression analysis
engineering
Polarization
basic need
intrinsic motivation
frustration
polarization
regression analysis
student

Keywords

  • Self-determination theory
  • competence
  • engineering ethics
  • frustration
  • hierarchical model

Cite this

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