An exploration of quantity surveying students’ engagement with engineering graphics and specification drawings.
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This study sought to explore N4 Quantity surveying students’ engagement with engineering Graphics and specification drawings at the Durban Computer College in a class taught by the researcher. The study was guided by the following research questions: 1. How do N4 QS students’ engage with the assessing and processing of information from engineering graphics and specification drawings? 2. Why N4 QS students engage with the assessing and processing of information from engineering graphics and specification drawings the way they do? 3. What factors promote or impede N4 QS students’ engagement with the assessing and processing of information from engineering graphics and specification drawings? To address these questions a qualitative case study design approach is used. Data was generated through a task based activity, individual interviews, collages, concept maps and reflections. The conceptual framework guiding this study embraces experiential learning theory (Kolb, 1984) as well as the model adapted by Strydom andMentz (2010a)forthe South African Survey of Student Engagementoriginally designed by Kuh (2007, p. 11). Purposive and convenience sampling was used to identify the respondents for this study. Data collected was subjected to content analysis. The findings from the task based activity indicate that N4 QS students encounter difficulty in reading and interpreting engineering graphics and specification drawings. These students remain stuck at the concrete experience phase of Kolb’s experiential learning theory(ELT) and do not move along the continuum to the level of abstract conceptualisation. This means that facts or content pertaining to QS are learnt as unrelated issues in an isolated manner, hence the participants were unable to transfer/apply information to another situation, perform simple calculations or abstract information to prepare the bill of quantities. Individual interview conducted with N4 QS students revealed the following eight aspects emerged as their rationale for assessing and processing information from engineering and graphics and specification drawings the way they do, namely: student background, perception of learning environment, teaching style, study habits, carelessness, lack of literacy skills to read diagrams, lack of numeracy skills to perform simple calculation and lack of awareness of the standard system. Data from the collage and concept maps illuminated the factors that impeded or promoted N4 QS students’ engagement with the assessing and processing information from engineering and graphics and specification drawings. The factors that impede engagement were: carelessness, lack of literacy skills to read diagrams, lack of numeracy skills to perform simple calculations, lack of awareness of the standard system, students’ inability to juggle family responsibilities with study responsibilities, anxieties, confusion, being overwhelmed by large volumes of content information and jargon. The factors that can promoted N4 QS students’ engagement with the assessing and processing information from engineering and graphics and specification drawings were: equipping students with the skills needed to cope with the module content, breaking the content into smaller bits that are more comprehensible, changing my teaching methods, having more hands-on activities, having a positive expectation of students as well as getting to know them. Reflecting on my teaching and the three phases of data generation has made me realise the intricately intertwined connectedness between context, student engagement and my teaching. The findings of this study result in a proposed intervention at XYC for student teacher interaction, modelling of engaging teachers and managing of disengaged students.