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An Assessment Of The Redesigned Computational Methods Course At The University Of Michigan

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.155.1 - 6.155.8

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Paper Authors

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Nikolaos Katopodes

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Donald D. Carpenter

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

Session 2570

An assessment of the redesigned Computational Methods course at the University of Michigan.

Donald D. Carpenter, Nikolaos Katopodes

University of Michigan


In the spring of 2000, the junior level Computational Methods for Engineers and Scientists course at the University of Michigan was redesigned as part of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering curriculum restructuring. The broad objective of the old computational methods course was to apply numerical methods to solve various problems in engineering and science. The redesigned course has similar objectives to the original course, however a computer laboratory section was added and the presentation of material was changed. Previously, numerous alternative solution methods were covered in a very deductive matter. Now, fewer solution methods are introduced and the class is taught more inductively with a problem solution approach. The instructors consider the redesigned course to be a vast improvement over the old course; however, a more quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness was desired. The first comparison was of the student evaluations for the two courses. While student evaluations are not the best indicator of a successful course, they can give an indication on how the course is being received. The second comparison was of the results of an assessment quiz that was developed for this study. The quiz consists of a multiple-choice test along with a qualitative rating system of course effectiveness. The quiz was designed to be administered one year after course completion to determine the effect the new course has on material retention and the overall student view of course usefulness. The assessment quiz was administered in April of 2000 to a group of students who completed the old version of the course. The quiz was subsequently administered in March of 2001 to students who completed the redesigned version of the course. The assessment quiz results provide an indication of how effective the redesigned course is at teaching numerical methods.

Course Description

The College of Engineering at the University of Michigan recently underwent a restructuring of its engineering curriculum as part of its Curriculum 2000 initiative. The object of the restructuring was to strengthen the undergraduate curriculum and to better address the needs of future engineers. Curriculum 2000 officially listed eleven educational outcomes that undergraduates of the college will have upon graduation. To obtain these outcomes, all departments underwent an internal review to update and improve their undergraduate course

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Katopodes, N., & Carpenter, D. D. (2001, June), An Assessment Of The Redesigned Computational Methods Course At The University Of Michigan Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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