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An Evaluation Of The Impact Of A Service Learning Project In A Required First Year Engineering Course

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

FPD7 -- Service Learning

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.185.1 - 11.185.15



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Paper Authors


Lorelle Meadows University of Michigan

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Dr. Lorelle Meadows is the Coordinator for Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include studies of student retention and diversity in STEM disciplines.

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Samantha Jarema University of Michigan

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Samantha Jarema is a student in the Industrial and Operations Engineering department at the University of Michigan.

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



In Fall 2004, a service-learning curriculum was introduced in one section of Engineering 100: Introduction to Engineering, at the University of Michigan. Engineering 100 is a required course for all first year students and comprises a team project coupled with an introduction to technical communication. The course also includes threads of environmental sustainability, ethics and the role of the engineer in society. As a required course, Engineering 100 has suffered from low teaching evaluations, despite the efforts of many faculty to actively engage students in the learning process. Thus, one of the goals of this project was to explore the impact that service- learning might have on students’ learning, including their level of engagement and motivation, in a required first year course.

One method for assessing student learning is an anonymous instructor evaluation questionnaire; at the University of Michigan, such a questionnaire is required for all courses at the end of the semester The Likert-scale questions are divided into two categories. The first four questions address students’ perceptions of the quality of the course and instructor, the extent to which they “learned” in the course, and their desire to enroll in the course. The second set of questions is directed at the specific teaching outcomes for the course. These reflect outcomes centered on technical communication, engineering problem solving, teamwork, global/societal impacts and ethics. These questions also address the students’ level of engagement with the material and their motivation. Students’ responses to both sets of questions provides an insight into their learning.

To determine if the integration of a service-learning curriculum into Engineering 100 affected the student’s learning in the course, a detailed statistical analysis of the teaching evaluation responses was performed. These analyses included a Stepwise Regression analysis, Multiple Regression analysis, Correlation analysis, and a Multifactor ANOVA test performed on the teaching evaluations for four successive semesters of ENG 100 taught by the same instructor; the first three without and the last with a service-learning curriculum.

This paper presents a summary of the general course objectives, the service-learning curriculum components introduced in 2004 and a detailed discussion of the study results outlining the statistical results and broader implications for first year engineering curricula.


Since the mid-1900’s, traditional undergraduate engineering education has been focused on the development of specialized technical knowledge in students for the purpose of solving challenging problems. As a result, the last half-century of engineers have been highly technically trained, but generally lack the skills often associated with other successful professionals, such as the capacity to function in a team environment, communication skills and the broad education necessary to understand their impact in a global and societal context. With the dawning of the

Meadows, L., & Jarema, S. (2006, June), An Evaluation Of The Impact Of A Service Learning Project In A Required First Year Engineering Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1109

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