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Student Perceptions of Technical and Soft Skills Development In An Introductory Automotive Engineering Technology Course
A key issue that engineering and engineering technology faculty face is the perceptions by students on their own skill levels, as they enter academic programs. Faculty must take students, many of whom were high achieving students in their primary education, and develop new skills and habits necessary to be engineers, such as problem definition and formulation or teamwork. As part of an introductory course in automotive engineering technology course, students were asked to take a series of surveys, which included questions on their experiences and perceptions of their own skill levels in both technical skills and “soft skills”, such as project management and conflict resolution. Throughout the academic term, the students were required to work both in subgroups and as a course-wide group on an automotive engineering technology project, requiring both technical understanding and interpersonal skills. The intent is to examine how students perceptions change throughout the semester, along with observing how the technical and soft skills develop, as they are introduced to the engineering discipline.