Abstract

The main purpose of this project is to determine if the use of Information Technology (IT) tools, specifically cyberphysical devices, in outreach sessions will promote interest of young individuals in pursuing IT careers. The Diversity office of Purdue’s College of Technology offers a number of outreach sessions to a variety of target populations throughout the year. Each department in the college has an opportunity to present a session related to a field of study offered by the department. The research was carried out thru the Spring 2015 semester during the DOiT and Vision outreach programs offered through the college’s Diversity office. The participants of both the DOiT and Vision programs are 11th grade students who are exploring technology majors. The researcher directed the sessions for the Computer and Information Technology department and used a cyberphysical device to introduce students to programming. Participants of the outreach session were requested to complete two Internet-based surveys. The responses were processed using a paired t-test, two-sample t-test, and correlational statistics.

The research sugested that when comparing the additional interaction with a cyberphysical device to a session that only used the simulation tool to visualize the outcomes, there was no statistically-significant increase in student interest in IT with the addition of the device. A weak linear relationship was found to be present between interest and self-beliefs.

Keywords

Information Technology, cyberphysical device, interest, outreach, STEM

Date of this Version

5-13-2015

Month of Graduation

May

Degree

Master of Science

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Prof. Alka R. Harriger

Committee Member 1

Prof. Bradley C. Harriger

Committee Member 2

Prof. Dawn Laux, PhD

Committee Member 3

Prof. Alejandra J. Magana, PhD