June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.11.1 - 12.11.9
A Case Study on the Use of Seminars in Engineering Courses A Comparison Between a Graduate and an Undergraduate Course
This paper presents comparison of results obtained in two distinct courses, one graduate and one undergraduate, where engineering economy was one of the main components of the course.
The graduate course is the advanced version of the undergraduate course. In both it was used the same methodology of assigning projects that involved the preparation of a report and a subsequent presentation of the results in an internal seminar.
For the undergraduate course two seminars were presented by each group, one involving engineering economy and other involving managerial aspects of the industry. For the graduate course only one project was proposed since the project involved a more in depth analysis of the topic developed.
Both courses were taught two years in a row and the paper presents comments and observations regarding the different results obtained in graduate and undergraduate levels.
Undergraduate engineering courses with a seminar component appear to be very common in engineering programs across North American universities. Even though we could not find an academic work reporting how extensively this resource is utilized in engineering courses, an expedited research through 10 largely recognized engineering programs in United States and Canada indicated that all engineering curricula had some courses with a seminar component (see institutions listed in Table I.)
One of the main reasons for the presence of seminars in those programs is probably the recognition that engineers should have the ability to work in groups and communicate effectively1.
Seminars at the University of Alberta are part of various courses in all four engineering departments and ten different engineering programs. The most common format for the courses with seminars is to have a weekly work load of three hours of classes and one hour for seminars.
It must be noticed that, even though most programs have some courses with seminars, those courses do not constitute the majority in the program. Actually, most courses follow the traditional format of lectures, assignments, lab classes and exams. Courses with seminars may have all the previously mentioned tools. The seminars are an additional learning and/or evaluation tool.
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