June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.27.1 - 26.27.11
A Core Course Component in a Project-Based First-Year Engineering ExperienceXYZ University embarked on a new project-based approach for the required first-yearengineering experience in 2009; this new first-year experience was reported in the 2010 ASEEAnnual Conference proceedings. The two-semester sequence is divided into four half-semesterblocks with the first half-semester block being the Core Course, the focus of this paper. TheCore Course covers material germane to the five engineering programs offered at XYZUniversity (chemical, civil and environmental, computer, electrical and mechanical).This paper focuses on three major topic points: • A discussion of the lessons-learned in working with first-year engineering students during the six years that the first-year experience has been taught; • A discussion of an assessment tool based on pre- and post-testing to gauge student performance in select areas of the course • Results of this assessment tool and how it is being used in course improvement (Fig. 1 shows an example of pre-and post-test results in Fall 2013 showing improvement in select areas; the full paper will show four years of longitudinal data, the instrument as well as our evaluation of the results for course improvement).The pre- and post-tests are administered the first and last day of class. The assessment tool iscalled an ‘Engineering Skills Inventory’ so that students do not think of it as a traditional ‘test’;an attempt to minimize test anxiety, especially during the pre-test that is probably the students’first college-level assessment experience since it occurs the first day of their first engineeringclass. The Skills Inventory is a 20-question test that covers topics such as basic mathematicsskills, graph reading, elementary physics and engineering terms, and knowledge of the differentengineering disciplines. Students have 10 minutes to complete the online Skills Inventory duringthe class session. In addition to these major topic areas, updated course details (both pedagogyand logistics) will be presented. a. b.Fig. 1. a) Pre- and post-test results and b) improvement in skills (difference between post- and pre-testscores) of the Fall 2013 first-year engineering core course. The results show significant skillsimprovement in select areas with little or no loss of skills. For example, Questions H-M coveredengineering units and the units module in the Core Course showed success in improving this skill.
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