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Abstract Title: Coupling Identity and Epistemology to Explain Differences in Learning Experiences
Abstract: Students' personal epistemology – their notions about the nature of knowledge and learning – affect how they approach learning. These personal epistemologies have usually been conceptualized as originating in students' past experiences and recruited in particular learning contexts. Drawing on a case study based on a clinical interview with an electrical engineering major ("Rebecca") in an introductory physics class, we argue that in some instances, students' projected sense of their future profession - an aspect of their developing disciplinary identities - influences their approaches towards learning. Specifically, Rebecca positions herself as an electrical engineer and draws a distinction between her introductory mechanics course, which she sees as irrelevant to her future, and courses on digital logic and introductory electromagnetism, which she sees as relevant. She sees mechanics as less coherent than digital logic. She structures her learning in the two courses differently and reflects on how she draws on more rote-learning in physics, but deep sense making in digital logic design.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Ayush Gupta
University of Maryland, College Park
and Co-Presenter(s)
Andrew Elby, University of Maryland, College Park.