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A Novel Tool For Engineering Curriculum Development, Enhancement, And Evaluation

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.31.1 - 4.31.10

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Paper Authors

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R. J. Helgeson

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Troy Henson

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

Session 3225

A Novel Tool for Engineering Curriculum Development, Enhancement, and Evaluation R.J. Helgeson and T.F. Henson School of Engineering, University of Tennessee at Martin


A new tool has been developed at the University of Tennessee at Martin to aid in thoroughly examining the content of the engineering curriculum. The approach incorporates a course map showing all required and elective engineering courses, including prerequisite and corequisite critical paths. Each element in the map details the content of a specific course in terms of design, computer usage, laboratory experience, written communication, and oral communication. Each of these categories is further separated into qualitative levels, i.e., beginning, intermediate, and advanced applications. The detailed content information for each course is then directly related to examples of student work, using color-coded indices. The tool is a valuable resource for development and enhancement of an engineering curriculum. It is useful not only to evaluate existing programs to support, for example, accreditation reviews, but also it is an effective tool for program assessment and continuous improvement.

Description of Course Map

The course map was developed to support our recent Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) site visit1. The original goal was to visually portray the required courses in our engineering curriculum so that the evaluators could easily see which courses were offered, what the required prerequisites were, and when the typical student would take each course. It was decided to dedicate a complete wall within a classroom for this purpose. As the map developed, an additional wall was added to contain maps for each of the four upper-division discipline-specific elective paths in our curriculum.

The overall arrangement of the map is shown in Figure 1. The eight semesters that make up the undergraduate curriculum were arranged in eight columns, with two columns for each year of study. The rows contain the core engineering curriculum courses on top, followed by reference to engineering electives, with the required math and science courses below.

Freshman Courses Sophomore Courses Junior Courses Senior Courses Core Engineering Core Engineering Core Engineering Core Engineering Engineering Engineering Elective Elective Math & Science Math & Science Math & Science Math & Science

Figure 1. Arrangement of Main Curriculum Map

Helgeson, R. J., & Henson, T. (1999, June), A Novel Tool For Engineering Curriculum Development, Enhancement, And Evaluation Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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