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Active Learning Techniques For Engaging First Year Students In A Manufacturing Processes Course

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Manufacturing Processes Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.121.1 - 15.121.12



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Paper Authors

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Michael Slifka Rochester Institute of Technology (CAST)

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

Active Learning Techniques for Engaging First Year Students in a Manufacturing Processes Course


This paper deals with the instruction and testing of first year students taking manufacturing process courses by determining and raising all students to a common level of understanding prior to covering specific manufacturing processes, the use of active learning techniques, and a unique testing procedure. Through the use of a tailored quiz, instructors can determine the student’s current level of understanding relating to manufacturing, and part design. The questions and subsequent discussions allow the instructor to establish a common foundation that each manufacturing process can be built upon. Issues relating to a manufacturing companies department structure and their interrelationships are also presented at this time. Industry like projects and testing methods are detailed along with the resulting benefits. Also discussed is the use of active learning through the use of Mind Mapping and by leveraging the student’s use of the Internet and exposure to engineering entertainment media. Mind Mapping is used both by the student and the presentation of material by the instructor. All of these topics have been used for the teaching of eight sections over the past two years. Student feedback has been shown to improve the understanding of material and help improve problem solving.


This paper deals with the course delivery of a Manufacturing Processes class consisting of first year students in Mechanical, Manufacturing, and Undeclared Engineering Technology programs. This class is the student’s first exposure to manufacturing engineering and exposes them to current manufacturing technologies. Part design and its impact on manufacturing is stressed throughout this course.

Students starting college have very diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expectations. This diversity can hinder an instructor’s ability to reach each student effectively and equally. The techniques detailed in this paper have been shown to increase student learning and understanding of material, develop problem solving skills, and expose our students to real industrial issues.

Today’s students are the savviest generation relating to personal electronic communication through the use of personal computers, cell phones, and the Internet [1]. They have been referred to as “digital natives,” “net geners,” “netizens,” or “homo zappiens.” Whatever they are called, they are the first generation to have been immersed in digital media [2]. Their exposure to electronic media and communication instruments offers a great opportunity for instructors to widen the base of subject related information, expose them to technical resources that are used by industry, and give them an opportunity to develop decision making skills [3].

We are considered “digital immigrants” and must alter the way in which we instruct students in order to maximize their learning. This change should not take place because it is what they have been exposed to. Rather, this is the environment that they will encounter during their careers [3].

Slifka, M. (2010, June), Active Learning Techniques For Engaging First Year Students In A Manufacturing Processes Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16627

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