Fostering Motivation for Chemical Engineering Students’ Academic Success: An Example from a Sophomore Materials and Energy Balances Course


An introductory sophomore-level chemical engineering course was redesigned, and this redesign included cyber-assisted learning through online videos, team formation, and team evaluation software. We compared the traditional 2018 course (n = 48) with the redesigned 2019 course (n = 67) on student persistence (DFW rates), motivation, and course performance (final GPA). We found descriptively lower DFW rates (–10.4%) and higher performance predicted by students’ positive changes in their competence beliefs after the cyber-assisted redesign.

Author Biographies

Allison Godwin, Purdue University

Allison Godwin is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education with a courtesy appointment in the Davidson School of Chemical engineering at Purdue University. Her research focuses what factors influence diverse students to choose engineering and stay in engineering through their careers and how different experiences within the practice and culture of engineering foster or hinder belongingness and identity development. Dr. Godwin graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education. Her research earned her a National Science Foundation CAREER Award focused on characterizing latent diversity, which includes diverse attitudes, mindsets, and approaches to learning to understand engineering students’ identity development. She has won several awards for her research including the 2016 American Society of Engineering Education Educational Research and Methods Division Best Paper Award and the 2018 the IEEE Frontiers in Education Benjamin J. Dasher Award.

Bryan W. Boudouris, Purdue University

Bryan Boudouris is the Robert and Sally Weist Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and an Associate Professor of Chemistry (by Courtesy). He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004. After receiving his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2009, he conducted postdoctoral research from 2009 to 2011 under the supervision of Professor Rachel Segalman at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Since joining Purdue University in 2011, he has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program (AFOSR YIP) award, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award (DARPA YFA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, the American Physical Society – UK Polymer Physics Group Lectureship, and the Exceptional Early Career Teaching Award and the College of Engineering Early Career Research Award at Purdue University. His group’s current research interests include the design, nanostructural characterization, and implementation of homopolymers and block polymers in applications that include: polymer-based energy conversion and bioelectronic sensing devices; membranes with high fluxes and high selectivities; enhanced oil recovery (EOR) applications; and the creation of photopolymerized materials using continuous 3-dimensional (3D) nanoprinting.