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A Classification Scheme for “Introduction to Engineering” Courses: Defining First-Year Courses Based on Descriptions, Outcomes, and Assessment

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.24.1 - 24.24.11



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Paper Authors


Kenneth Reid Ohio Northern University

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Ken Reid is the Director of Engineering Education, Director of First-Year Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ohio Northern University. He was the seventh person in the U.S. to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. He is active in engineering within K-12, serving on the TSA Boards of Directors and over 10 years on the IEEE-USA Precollege Education Committee. He was awarded with an IEEE-USA Professional Achievement Award in 2013 and named the Herbert F. Alter Chair of Engineering in 2010. His research interests include success in first-year engineering, introducing entrepreneurship into engineering, international service and engineering in K-12.

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David Reeping Ohio Northern University Orcid 16x16

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David Reeping is a sophomore majoring in Engineering Education with a minor in Mathematics and an undergraduate research assistant. He is a Choose Ohio First scholar inducted during the 2012-2013 school year and the recipient of the Remsberg Creativity Award for 2013. Also, he is a member of the freshman honorary society (Alpha Lambda Delta / Phi Eta Sigma) and the mathematics honorary society (Kappa Mu Epsilon). His research interests involve improving mathematical perseverance and literacy in students and exploring general topics in K-12 engineering (student perceptions of engineering).

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Classification of First Year Engineering Courses Based on Descriptions, Outcomes and AssessmentA proliferation of first-year engineering programs exists nationwide. These are often designedfrom scratch and tend to be “personal courses” – designed by instructors to cover what they feelis important. Therefore, while they may be prerequisites to second-year courses, first-yearengineering programs are not necessarily integrated into the curriculum. Further, since they areoften designed with little consideration for existing models, overall outcomes and content varywidely. This leads to, first, the issue of course developers “reinventing the wheel” as successfulmodels are not adequately disseminated. The problem is exacerbated by a lack of definition offirst year models: a developer may know what they want in a course, but how do they find acourse with similar outcomes with nothing more than “first-year engineering” as a description?Through an NSF sponsored study, we have developed a classification scheme for first‐yearengineering courses, and have begun to synthesize and identify the assessment gaps. Multiplemethods of data collection were employed, including a focus group at a national engineeringeducation conference and a survey of syllabi available on the Internet. An Imen‐Delphiprocedure was used to survey participants in multiple rounds toward building consensus on theclassification scheme. A culminating workshop was held at a major conference in which theparticipants tested the scheme based on courses at their home institution.We are pleased to present the intermediate results, documenting the scheme as it developed, andthe final classification scheme that is suitable for classification of any Introduction toEngineering course. Results of testing in a group workshop will also be presented.The anticipated impact is that the scheme will allow universities, community colleges, fundingagencies, etc. to use the developed classification scheme as developed to accurately determinespecific credit awarded for transfers, to develop introductory engineering coursework, and toidentify and fund efforts toward appropriate assessment gaps.

Reid, K., & Reeping, D. (2014, June), A Classification Scheme for “Introduction to Engineering” Courses: Defining First-Year Courses Based on Descriptions, Outcomes, and Assessment Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19916

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