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A Service Learning Project for a Freshman Engineering Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Female Faculty, Learning, NSF, and ABET Issues at Two-Year Colleges

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.99.1 - 22.99.9



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Paper Authors


Dan G. Dimitriu San Antonio College

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Dan G. Dimitriu has been practicing engineering since 1970 and taught engineering courses concurrently for over 20 years. He has been involved with several engineering societies and was elected vice-chair of the Two-Year College Division of ASEE in 2005. He has been the coordinator of the Engineering Program at San Antonio College since 2001. His research interests are: alternative fuels, fuel cells, plastics, and engineering education.

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Jerry O'Connor San Antonio College

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Jerry O'Connor has been teaching physics (and occasionally engineering and math) courses since 1980. He is currently the Department Chairperson for Physics, Engineering, & Architecture at San Antonio College, and has been involved in numerous initiatives to integrate the findings of physics and engineering education research with education practice.

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A Service Learning Project for a Freshman Engineering CourseAbstractService learning has been repeatedly shown to be a highly effective teachingtactic in higher education. Nevertheless, Engineering classes have been slowerthan other disciplines to adopt it successfully. This paper presents in detail anaccount of the development and results of the inclusion of Service Learning as acomponent of a freshman level Introduction to Engineering course. A significantpart of the required work for this course is comprised of team projects. One of theprojects was selected to be a service learning activity, and the community partnerwas chosen to be the local “Children’s Museum”. A charge was given to the classby the museum’s Education Coordinator to develop thematic toys and games tohelp teach visiting children various physics concepts. The concepts werepresented in a list along with additional technical specifications and safetyrequirements. Each engineering team was tasked to choose a particular conceptand develop a toy or a game according to the specifications and requirementsprovided. The teams were required to follow and document the entire designprocess, culminating with team presentations of their products to the “customer”and a formal product test with real children was conducted at the museum. Theproject was concluded with a team report and class discussion that provided aforum to exchange ideas and lessons learned during the project. The planning,implementation, and the results of five semesters of this service learning projectare reviewed and analyzed in view of ABET accreditation criteria. Conclusionsand suggestions are presented to help more schools start using a service learningcomponent in their Introduction to Engineering courses.

Dimitriu, D. G., & O'Connor, J. (2011, June), A Service Learning Project for a Freshman Engineering Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17381

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