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A Multidisciplinary Course Sequence For First Year Engineering Students

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Introduction to Engineering Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.69.1 - 7.69.20



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Fuja

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Stephen Batill

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Jay Brockman

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

Main Menu Session 2253

A Multidisciplinary Course Sequence for First-Year Engineering Students

Jay B. Brockman, Thomas E. Fuja, Stephen M. Batill University of Notre Dame


The University of Notre Dame has developed a new first year engineering program, and central to that program is a two-course sequence entitled “Introduction to Engineering Systems.” These courses use a sequence of team-based, multidisciplinary projects to introduce students to the engineering profession and to assist them in developing fundamental problem-solving skills common to all engineering disciplines. This paper describes how these new courses were developed and outlines the learning objectives for the courses. It includes details on the implementation of the courses and the four projects that are central to these two courses. The paper details the ongoing assessment activities and the progress toward achieving the various desired outcomes set-forth for the courses.

I. Introduction

In 1998, the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame embarked on an intensive self-study of its undergraduate engineering programs. This was done in response to the challenges and opportunities resulting from ongoing changes in both engineering education and the engineering profession. This self-assessment led to a strategic plan that identified those areas in which the College of Engineering should invest time and resources. This study emphasized the importance of moving from an education process that was faculty and lecture centered to one that contains significant elements that are student-centered. A student-centered activity is one that actively engages the student in the learning process, thus enhancing their understanding and ability to use the knowledge gained. This student-centered emphasis better prepares students to be effective engineers, lifelong learners and leaders in new technology developments by stressing the importance of student participation in the discovery of knowledge. Particular importance was also placed upon increasing interdisciplinary breath in all fields of study to complement the existing emphasis on disciplinary depth.

To this end, the College of Engineering began efforts to integrate the student-centered activities in those parts of the curriculum where they could provide the greatest benefit. The first major effort was to restructure the first year curriculum for all students who intend to enter the College of Engineering in their second year. This included the development of a new two-course sequence entitled “Introduction to Engineering Systems.” (These courses are designated as EG111/112 and will be referred to as such in this paper.) These multidisciplinary courses introduce engineering students to the role of engineers in society, and illustrate how engineers design systems and solve problems. This is done in the context of how engineering systems influence, and are influenced, by the world around them. The courses introduce basic

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Fuja, T., & Batill, S., & Brockman, J. (2002, June), A Multidisciplinary Course Sequence For First Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11129

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