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An Exploratory Study of Outcomes of Interdisciplinary Activities in an Engineering Orientation Course

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering in the First-Year

Tagged Divisions

First-Year Programs and Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Huihui H Wang Jacksonville University

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Dr. Huihui Wang, is an assistant professor and the Chair of the Engineering Department at JU. JU is a private, undergraduate liberal arts institution in northeast Florida. She is an IEEE senior member and the Vice Chair of IEEE JAX section. She has 3 on-going external grants, 40 peer reviewed papers and 5 patents (1 pending). As a member of ASME, ASEE, IEEE, Florida Engineering Society (FES), and an advisor of NSPE JU Chapter, she actively participates in conferences, workshops, panels and professional activities.

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Festus Ogbaisi Jacksonville University

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Martins Slaboh Jacksonville University


Emre Selvi Jacksonville University

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Emre Selvi is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Jacksonville University. He received his academic degrees in Mechanical Engineering; B.S. and M.S. from Middle East Technical University and PhD from Texas Tech University. Prior to starting his Ph.D. in 2004, he worked as a Design and Production Engineer for Aselsan Inc. over four years. His research interests are high pressure material science and engineering design, especially as it relate to educational environments.

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Maria Javaid Jacksonville University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Maria Javaid joined the Engineering Department at Jacksonville University in August 2015 as an Assistant Professor. She received her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014, where she was nominated as an exemplary teaching assistant by her department for three consecutive years.

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We emphasize the interdisciplinary curriculum of the mechanical engineering (ME) and electrical engineering (EE) programs since we transitioned from a dual degree program to a 4-year engineering department in 2015 fall. In our department, we have more students in ME than in EE. However, it is imperative for all students to have the basics of EE in order to work on the robotic projects. In this case, we mix students from two programs together in the engineering orientation course. “What topics should be covered in this course?” is always a question and a challenge for the instructors. After 3-year practices and continuous improvements, we decide to cover not only the basics of ME and EE but also diverse soft skills trainings especially the project management trainings. Three teaching assistants (two juniors from EE and one junior from ME) are assisting a professor in the lab sections. This paper studies the outcomes of several activities such as the ethics debates, self-identities, career track surveys, project-based learning, a field trip and peer-to-peer supervising and learning. Especially, we are exploring the student learning outcomes of interdisciplinary projects when we mix students from ME and EE in the same team. Several surveys are given to students and teaching assistants through the semester to explore students’ outcomes and feedback about diverse activities. Results show that students prefer learning and working cross the fields. They do not just learn the basics of ME and EE but also gain a lot of soft skills from different activities. We find such a course gives freshmen especially those who do not know what EE is a better idea about EE. A couple of students decide to transfer to the EE major or be double majored in both ME and EE after they start working on the course project. Our findings would be useful for other similar small programs at other universities.

Wang, H. H., & Ogbaisi, F., & Slaboh, M., & Selvi, E., & Javaid, M. (2019, June), An Exploratory Study of Outcomes of Interdisciplinary Activities in an Engineering Orientation Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32062

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