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Addressing Program Outcomes In A Freshman Introduction To Engineering Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Curriculum Innovation & Assessment

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.130.1 - 10.130.10



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Krueger

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Ted Aanstoos

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Ronald Barr

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

Addressing Program Outcomes in a Freshman Introduction to Engineering Course Ronald E. Barr, Thomas J. Krueger, and Ted Aanstoos

Mechanical Engineering Department University of Texas at Austin


Program outcomes are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students should be able to demonstrate at the end of a degree program. ABET requires that accredited engineering departments must define a set of program outcomes, publicize them broadly to all constituents, and put into place a process for continuous assessment of the program outcomes. One of the biggest obstacles in assessment is the inability to engage students in the awareness of program outcomes and their importance in the curriculum. Many students see them as overly generalized statements that have no bearing on the concepts they need to pass a given course. Thus, dissemination of the notion and value of program outcomes is a major hurdle for the faculty. This paper suggests that engaging students at the freshman level in the departmental program outcomes is one strategy to foster a climate of their acceptance in later courses. Examples of freshman class assignments and projects that address specific program outcomes in a Mechanical Engineering department are presented.


In the mid-1990’s, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) developed a new set of criteria for accrediting engineering degree programs. Called EC2000, the new procedure requires engineering educators to define, promote, and rigorously assess their educational objectives and program outcomes. After some initial confusion and lack of guidance, EC2000 has now taken hold and is the required norm for all engineering programs. The main challenge for engineering faculty involved in ABET accreditation is to establish a continuous process of assessment and improvement of their educational programs. This process, called “Closing the Loop,” involves the integration of constituents in meaningful dialog that leads to a better educational experience for the graduate.

The two major changes brought on by EC 2000 where embedded in Criteria 2 and 3 of the eight ABET criteria1. Criterion 2 states that engineering degree programs must define a set of educational objectives, promote those objectives to external interests, and have in place a mechanism to evaluate the success of their objectives. Although ABET was reluctant at first to define what was meant by educational objectives, recent agreement has resulted in the following definition: Educational Objectives are broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve several years after matriculation from the BS degree.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Krueger, T., & Aanstoos, T., & Barr, R. (2005, June), Addressing Program Outcomes In A Freshman Introduction To Engineering Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15123

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