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A Freshman Course In Computer Applications

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.48.1 - 8.48.6



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Paper Authors

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Thyagarajan Srinivasan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

A Freshman Course in Computer Applications

Jamal A. Ghorieshi1, Thyagarajan Srinivasan1, Brian E. Whitman2 Division of Engineering1/GeoEnvironmental Sciences and Engineering Department 2, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre PA.


This paper describes a new course designed for engineering freshmen to be taken in the second semester of their curriculum. The intent of the course is to enhance the engineering student’s problem solving skills and to expose the students to the various branches of engineering. It replaces a traditional programming course involving the C or C++ programming language. The use of software such as MATLAB for problem solving in this course is described and the use of such a package in plotting graphs and solving engineering problems is stressed. The use of other software to solve electrical circuits, to simulate mechanical systems, to analyze data statistically, and to study environmental problems is also described.


Wilkes University offers ABET accredited degree programs in electrical, mechanical, and environmental engineering. These majors have a common curriculum during the first three semesters of study. Students had been taking a 4-credit programming course involving C+ in the second semester. The new 3-credit course, here described, was introduced in the Fall of 2001 as an alternative to the existing course with the intent to expose our freshmen to the different software packages commonly used in industry. The packages used were MS Office, SYSTAT, CITYgreen, ANSYS, PSpice, and MATLAB. Faculty in each of the three programs were involved in developing and teaching the course. An explanation of the various aspects of the course follows.

Internet Applications and MS Office

The students are introduced to using an Internet browser and search engines to locate information and write a report using MS Word. For example, students are assigned to research one of three engineering processes (ball mill, screw pump, or steam turbine) using searchable keywords in an Internet search engine. Students are shown methods to use the search engines and how to evaluate the information that is found. It is emphasized that just because information was placed on the Internet does not ensure that the information is correct. Students are shown the meaning of the URL tag (.com, .org, .gov, .edu, etc.) and the class discussed the relative confidence in the information.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Srinivasan, T. (2003, June), A Freshman Course In Computer Applications Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12611

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