June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Minorities in Engineering
23.118.1 - 23.118.14
A Surveying Course as Summer Experience for a Tribal College Pre-Engineering ProgramA surveying course has been designed and delivered for a tribal college pre-engineering program beingdeveloped under the tribal college-university Pre-Engineering Education Collaborative (PEEC) initiativeof the National Science Foundation. The collaborative, one of only four in the nation, is established tobring university engineering schools together with tribal colleges to develop pre-engineering programsin the tribal colleges. Under the collaborative, students will begin their studies in a pre-engineeringprogram at one of the four participating tribal colleges and then transfer to a university to completetheir studies. The program is in its second year and course development and delivery are in progress.The surveying course is offered as a summer experience over a two-week period during whichparticipating students from the tribal colleges assemble at the university. The course content isequivalent to that of the surveying course offered in a regular semester at the university; an objective ofthe program being to enhance instruction without lowering the bar. Surveying was chosen as the firstcourse to be offered because fieldwork (outdoor activity), integral to the course, is attractive to studentsand thus helpful to sustain their interest. Because most surveying endeavors require group work,students get a taste of working in teams to complete tasks. The ability to integrate applications oftrigonometry, computer aided graphics and spreadsheets into the course is another reason. Surveyingfieldwork requiring intense coordination and management of logistics afforded students opportunitiesto observe how tasks are accomplished. When condensing a 16 week semester schedule to a 2-weekcamp, the major concern was to allow reasonable time for studying, homework and reflection. Theschedule was, hence, set so that students were given time overnight before conducting tests andfieldwork on material taught any day. Being a hands-on course, much of the learning happened in thefield. Every attempt was made to ensure that students from different tribal colleges will work togetherin groups, thus increasing interactions among people across tribal reservations. On each fieldworkstudents were required to maintain a detailed record on a field book that was rigorously graded, andwrite a reflective journal to emphasize the need to develop into reflective practitioners. Two advancedgraduate students assisted the engineering professor in instructing the students on fieldwork andprocessing field observations using spreadsheets. Beyond that, they took the lead in designing andconducting a series of tutorials making students create survey maps using computer aided graphics, andgain experiences in algebra, trigonometry, numerical methods, statistics and calculus. Further, the twoperformed yeoman service helping students catch up whenever they fell behind, thus gaining an in-depth knowledge of challenges faced by students. Another activity was demonstration of GPS and GIStechnology by two currently active professional surveyors, and introduction to the working environmentin their firm. Overall, students gained experience that may stimulate interest to acquire skills towardspursuing a career in engineering. Details of the course and reflections on future improvements will bediscussed in the paper.
Padmanabhan, G., & De Saram, D. D., & Schanandore, T. C., & Schanandore, J., & Pieri, R. V. (2013, June), A Surveying Course as Summer Experience for Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19132
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