Dissertation Announcement for John Hutton – 10/19/2022 at 10:00 AM

September 29, 2022

Dissertation Title:  Comparing importance of knowledge and professional skill areas for engineering programming utilizing a two group Delphi survey

When:  Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Where:  Remote (Teams:  Teams Meeting Room)

Candidate:  John Hutton

Degree:  Doctor of Philosophy, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Members:
Dr. Jean Mohammadi-Aragh (Major Professor)
Dr. John Ball
Dr. Chaomin Luo
Dr. Bryan Jones

All engineering careers require some level of programming proficiency. However, beginning programming classes are challenging for many students. Difficulties have been well-documented and contribute to high drop-out rates which prevent students from pursuing engineering. While current programming curricula focuses almost exclusively on knowledge areas, accreditation boards and other researchers are increasing the focus professional skills into engineering programs.

This research seeks to understand the relative importance of knowledge and professional skill areas. We queried industry voices and academic voices to understand if any significant gaps exist between these groups. A three-round Delphi survey was used to build consensus ranked lists from both expert groups. Results showed that industry experts ranked professional skills much higher than our academic experts. Using a combined analysis of these two lists, we made the following two conclusions. First, academics and industry experts agreed on three areas which are important to the core of engineering programming. This included two knowledge areas and one professional skill. These should not be neglected in any considered curriculum changes. Second, we built a list of eight professional skills which rank highly among both groups. These deserve additional study to see if integration into courses, like introductory programming, could have positive impact on student motivation and retention.