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Alignment of first year engineering course learning outcomes as perceived by faculty at a four-year institution and its transfer community college

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Conference

2021 First-Year Engineering Experience

Location

Virtual

Publication Date

August 9, 2021

Start Date

August 9, 2021

End Date

August 21, 2021

Page Count

4

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38366

Download Count

12

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Paper Authors

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Amy Richardson P.E. Virginia Tech

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Amy Richardson is a Graduate Research Assistant at Virginia Tech in the Department of Engineering Education along with an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Northern Virginia Community College. She has been teaching math and engineering courses at community college for the past 12 years. She has a BS and MS in Civil Engineering at the University of Cincinnati and is a registered Professional Engineer.

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Stephen Moyer Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Stephen Moyer is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Virginia Tech in the Department of Engineering Education. Prior to starting graduate work he worked in the aerospace industry as a software engineer, and in the automotive industry as a manufacturing engineer. He has a BS in Mechatronics Engineering from UNC Asheville and NC State University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education.

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David B Knight Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David B. Knight is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education and Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Plan Implementation at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of Research of the Academy for Global Engineering at Virginia Tech and is affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive, tends to leverage large-scale institutional, state, or national data sets, and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts. He has B.S., M.S., and M.U.E.P. degrees from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University.

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Abstract

This work in progress compares perspectives of engineering faculty at Virginia Community Colleges (VCCS) and Virginia Tech around first year engineering (FYE) learning outcomes, foundational skills, matriculation into major degree programs, and equivalency across transfer programs. Research indicates that vertical engineering transfer students take longer to complete a bachelor’s degree than non-transfer students. One of the reasons for this lag in time to degree is the sequential nature of required coursework towards engineering degrees and missing prerequisites at the time of transfer. Community colleges that are able to develop transferable FYE courses allow students to meet prerequisites and follow a path similar to non-transfer students, thus, in theory, providing a lower cost pathway to a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Recently the VCCS revised learning outcomes for two sequential foundational engineering courses to improve transferability. This shift attempted to integrate the priorities and practices of multiple FYE programs in the development of a new two course sequence that articulates to the public postsecondary Virginia institutions. Although these courses are theoretically equivalent according to the articulation agreement, the setting, student population, and resources are not always equal across programs, and therefore students’ experiences may vary.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze learning outcomes across postsecondary institutions in Virginia and to compare faculty perceptions of the FYE courses from community colleges and a large four-year receiving institution. We conduct a series of semi-structured interviews with faculty from both types of institutions and complete a thematic analysis to highlight learning outcome priorities, teaching strategies, and relationships between the different types of institutions. Our document analysis looks across existing FYE programs in postsecondary institutions in Virginia to explore common goals, requirements, and the intricacies of transfer partnerships. This study builds on existing research to develop a more holistic understanding of FYE learning outcomes across postsecondary institutions regarding transfer student coursework and matriculation into degree programs. FYE faculty and administrators should consider the broader implications of changes in coursework, policies, and practices and how these changes impact their future engineering transfer students.

Richardson, A., & Moyer, S., & Knight, D. B. (2021, August), Alignment of first year engineering course learning outcomes as perceived by faculty at a four-year institution and its transfer community college Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/38366

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