Hard But Not Too Hard: Challenging Courses and Engineering Students

Some professors claim college students seek the easy way out and prefer classes that lack challenge. In a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional ethnographic research study of the attainment of gender parity in an engineering department, it emerged that student attitudes toward challenge did not support this perception. By far, the majority of participant responses on this topic fell into the category of hard classes that students liked. Student reasons for enjoying challenging classes include the desire to learn more and boredom in classes that lack challenge. Students dislike, however, a challenge that cannot be met.

DOI: 10.3200/CTCH.56.2.107-113

Martin, J. H., K. B. Hands, S. M. Lancaster, D. A. Trytten and T. J. Murphy (2008). “Hard But Not Too Hard: Challenging Courses and Engineering Students.” College Teaching 56(2): 107-113. DOI: 10.3200/CTCH.56.2.107-113

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