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A Framework for Liberal Learning in an Engineering College.

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Integrating Engineering & Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.47.1 - 23.47.15



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Paper Authors


Pradeep Kashinath Waychal College of Engineering Pune Orcid 16x16

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Pradeep Waychal has close to 30 years of experience in renowned academic and business organizations. He has been the founder and head of Innovation Center of College of Engineering Pune. Prior to that, for over 20 years, he has worked with a multinational corporation, Patni Computer Systems where he has played varied roles in delivery, corporate and sales organizations. He has led large international business relationships and incubated Centre of Excellences for business intelligence, process consulting and verification and validation. He has headed the corporate product and technology innovations and quality and delivery innovation departments. He has designed and delivered workshops in the areas of problem solving, project management and innovation management that were received very well by the participants. Pradeep was on the apex senior management group before proceeding on to pursue his academic, research and social interests. Before Patni, he has worked at IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, SGGS College of Engineering and Crompton Greaves R & D Electronics in different research and academic positions.
Pradeep Waychal has also published papers in peer reviewed journals, presented keynote invited talks in many high profile international conferences and was involved in a few copyrights/patents. His teams have won a range of awards in Six Sigma and Knowledge Management at international events. He has been associated with initiatives from NASSCOM, CSI, ISO and ISBSG among others.
Pradeep Waychal has completed Ph.D in the area of Information Technology and Innovation Management from IIT Bombay and has an M.Tech. in electrical engineering from IIT Delhi.

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Anil Dattatraya Sahasrabudhe College of Engineering, Pune

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Anil Sahasrabudhe completed his Bachelor of Engineering at Karnataka University securing top honors and a gold medal. He earned his Master of Engineering with distinction and Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He had a short stint in industry, Tata Consulting Engineers, before taking to academics. He has over 27 years of teaching, research and administrative experience in North Eastern Regional Institute of Technology, Itanagar, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati and College of Engineering, Pune. He has guided four Ph.D.s and over 50 bachelor's and master's projects. He is a member of ASME, ASI, and ISTE.

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A Framework for Liberal Learning in an Engineering College.This paper presents findings from a liberal learning course conducted at a premierengineering college in India. The course was conducted to inculcate a lifelong learningprocess that helps to extend the knowledge base beyond engineering and help studentsappreciate the interplay of engineering with other disciplines and make students betterlearners. The study also examines challenges in managing changes in faculty and studentcommunity and use of moodle to manage the course.Liberal learning has been in use in different forms in different civilizations. Aristotlehad defined it as learning of a free man and emphasized the spirit in which the learning ispursued. In the last few centuries, industrialization started re-defining educationalagenda. It introduced industry oriented engineering courses that did not pay muchattention to liberal learning. Recent trends show that liberal learning is regaining itspopularity. Some leading institutes like Princeton, Yale, and CMU run programs forengineers to help them gain clear appreciation of technology and the socio-politicalforces that shape it. The Indian engineering education system has yet to adapt theparadigm.We define liberal learning as self-learning of self-chosen areas with self-defined scope.This course is introduced at the sophomore level for about 350 undergraduate students.To bring in the required structure to the learning process, we have developed aframework consisting of process and data elements. The process consists of four distinctand slightly overlapping phases. These are Define, Harvest, Synthesize and Share and areillustrated in figure 1. The data framework is showed in figure 2 and consists of Areasand sub Areas. The Areas are identified by the academic leadership and includephilosophy, medicine, social sciences, environmental sciences, sports, defense studies,etc.. The sub Areas are outcomes of discussions amongst faculty mentors who chose tomentor and the students who chose to study the Areas.The faculty mentors need not be expert but need to have interest in the Area andexperience of learning processes. The topics and the corresponding focus questions areidentified by the students with little help from their faculty mentors. For each subarea,clusters of around 15 students are formed along with student conveners and co-conveners. The course expects that students, besides learning new Areas would becomebetter learners. Towards that they carried out self assessment in terms of attributes ofgreat learners and their learning approaches and styles and prepared a development plan.The final assessment will examine results of the plan and evaluate the presentations thatmay be supported by other forms of expressions like audio-visual clips, skits, poetry, etc.The evaluation is done at cluster level by peers with faculty and experts playing the roleof moderators which offers a great learning experience to the students.We are mid way through the semester and believe that will be able to analyzeacquisition of knowledge and improvement in the learners by the end of the semester. Itwill, though, take some time and additional research to understand if the students havelearnt appreciating the interplay between engineering and non engineering disciplines andbe able to put that to the best use.Figure 1: Process Framework Define Harvest Share Identify Gathering Synthesize information Sharing topic and Synthesizing with all from various define the view points the sources and learning / based on the stakeholde making problem harvest rs meaning of / statement analyze thatFigure 2: Data Framework

Waychal, P. K., & Sahasrabudhe, A. D. (2013, June), A Framework for Liberal Learning in an Engineering College. Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19061

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