April 20, 2017
April 20, 2017
April 22, 2017
Pacific Southwest Section
ME 100L (Mechanical Engineering Orientation) is a one-unit introductory lab course required by all incoming mechanical engineering students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with an enrollment of approximately 400 per year. Prior to 2014, ME 100L was a general orientation course with a curriculum that did not change significantly for almost two decades. Starting in Fall 2014, a new curriculum was implemented that exposes students to the Arduino microcontroller, robot building, sensors, DC motors, C programming, CAD modeling, and 3D printing. The primary objective of the redesigned course was to excite incoming students, provide them with an engaging, hands-on experience, and help them acquire useful and transferable skills. From this perspective, the redesign has been a great success as prior surveys indicated that students enjoy the new course. A detailed analysis of the redesign and survey results were presented at the 2016 ASEE Annual Conference.
Since the redesign was implemented only two years ago, our department still contains many students who took ME 100L prior to the redesign and many students who took ME 100L after the redesign. This presented a unique opportunity to examine the long-term impact of the redesign on student performance in subsequent courses, where some of the skills they acquired in ME 100L can be utilized. Surveys were administered to students in select junior- and senior-level courses to determine whether students who took the redesigned ME 100L transferred their skills to other courses. For example, prior to the redesign students typically learned about microcontrollers for the first time in their senior year. However, there are ample opportunities for students to utilize microcontrollers in class projects in their junior-level courses as well. The authors also compare the types of student projects observed in these lower-level courses before and after the redesign. Additional questions in the survey probed students’ perceived usefulness of ME 100L in their entire engineering curriculum. The survey results show that students’ who took the redesigned version of ME 100L have a much higher opinion of the course compared to those who took the older version of ME 100L.
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