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Background: Nominally, as students progress from their first semester towards graduation they should gain expertise in their major and the topics therein. Within the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) curriculum, an excellent opportunity to assess this growth exists through the transportation engineering-related courses, namely Elementary Surveying (ES) (1st semester), Highway and Traffic Engineering (HTE) (6th semester), and a transportation technical elective (TTE) (7th semester). These courses have some overlapping commonalities.
Purpose: Thus, the purpose of this research was to measure qualitatively and quantitatively student perception throughout the transportation engineering curriculum. Methods: Beginning this Spring 2023 semester in the HTE course, a two-page survey was presented at the beginning and the end asking the students to provide words they associate with four (4) transportation topical areas on the front page and self-assess their knowledge level of the primary course topics, as noted in the syllabus and student learning outcomes (SLOs), using a 10-point scale on the back page. The same survey was also distributed to students in the Spring CEE 101 introductory course as well.
Results: Results and discussion from these surveys are shared in the form of word clouds and simple, comparative statistics. During future semesters, the survey will be administered to the ES and TTE courses to more fully develop the novice to expert picture.
Conclusions: Generally, as supported by both the word clouds and the box plots, students in the HTE course appear to have markedly changed their self-perception related to their knowledge of traffic engineering.


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