June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
First-Year Programs and Multidisciplinary Engineering
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., & 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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