Examining Engineering Technology Students: How They Perceive and Order Their Thoughts


Lack of rigorous research focused on engineering technology students’ leaves administrators and practitioners in this area without adequate resources to advise and guide this unique population. This absence of research is most likely attributed to smaller student populations as compared to other related fields recently researched. A preliminary systemic review reveals that research defining whom the engineering technology student are and how they think is largely unavailable.

This study is expected to demonstrate growth in engineering technology students from their first year to their last year in college. Natural growth, opportunities for growth through programmatic opportunities, and other various experiences provide the individual experiences that impact how they think and perceive. Overall, it is expected that freshman enters the program with a broad variety of perceptions and order. These students’ perceptions and orders may become less varied as they mature and experience a common curriculum.

To further our understanding of engineering technology students and how they change over time, both freshman and senior engineering technology students were asked to complete the Gregorc Style Delineator. This instrument allows the investigation of how these students perceive and order their thoughts within four defined areas of abstraction and logic referred to as mediation channels. Gregorc asserts that these channels of mediation facilitate how we related to the world via a psychological style.

Gregorc found that humans have comparable amounts of the abilities assessed in the instrument. However, he does state that we are naturally predisposed to using two mediation channels. This predisposition of using two mediation channels provides differentiation between one person, and another and Gregorc asserts that these differences often lead to conflict and misunderstandings. Which mediation channels are most often seen in engineering technology students is unknown, however through the administration of this instrument, we will learn if generalizations regarding this population are possible.


Conference paper presented at ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in Columbus, OH June, 2017. Please see ASEE's website (https://peer.asee.org/27418) for the full-text version of the paper.

Copyright information:

©(2017) American Society for Engineering Education. ASEE (Annual Conference or Section Conference) Proceedings, (2017, June), (Columbus, Ohio).


Engineering technology students, student experiences, student perceptions, mediation channels

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