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Academic Threads Curriculum Integration For Specific Capabilities

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.152.1 - 8.152.9



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Paper Authors

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Michael Deisenroth

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

Session 2793

Academic Threads - Curriculum Integration for Specific Capabilities

Michael P. Deisenroth, Brian M. Kleiner, Russell D. Meller, Sonya Mook

Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia


This paper will begin with a discussion of learning objectives and illustrate their application within a number of different basic courses in industrial and systems engineering. It will then introduce the notion of “Academic Threads” and present a number of different situations where specific topics might be considered as appropriate for integration at a number of different points within the curriculum. A plan for the creation of an Academic Thread will be discussed. The paper will then show how the thread can be woven into the learning objectives for specific courses. A discussion of some of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach will then be presented. An extension of the idea of academic threads into more technical areas will also be presented.

Learning Objectives

In the literature, learning objectives have been labeled many different ways. Such terms as, “educational objectives,” “instructional objectives,” “behavioral objectives,” and “performance goals,” have been used to express the basic idea presented here as learning objectives (2,3). Learning objectives can be defined as, “statements that describe what students will be able to do after completing a prescribed unit of instruction” (2). A more detailed definition is provided by Mager, “the objectives must include three characteristics: (1) a statement about what the learner must be able to do, (2) a description of the conditions under which the performance is to occur, and (3) a description of the criteria for acceptable performance” (4). Common to both of these definitions is the focus on what the learner/student must be able to do at the completion of the learning unit. Learning objectives provide detailed descriptions about the exact behavior a student should demonstrate to show competence in a particular area. For this reason, objectives usually contain active verbs (e.g.: analyze, create, locate, perform, etc.) that explicitly state the behavior expected of the student that will be used as an indicator of completion of broader educational goals.

Learning objectives exist at two levels of education, the program level and the course level. At the program level, the selection of learning objectives creates the overall picture of a program and provides guidance and motivation for individual courses. At the course level, instructors can tailor the objectives to his/her course needs, student needs, and teaching style. Program learning

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society of Engineering Education

Deisenroth, M. (2003, June), Academic Threads Curriculum Integration For Specific Capabilities Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12564

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015