Asee peer logo

An Interdisciplinary Problem Based Engineering Technology Freshman Curriculum

Download Paper |


1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.95.1 - 3.95.7

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

James C. Wood

Download Paper |

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

Session 2248

An Interdisciplinary Problem-Based Engineering Technology Freshman Curriculum J. C. Wood Tri-County Technical College Pendleton, SC 29670

Abstract: The sixteen colleges of the South Carolina Technical College System through an NSF-ATE grant have begun the development of an interdisciplinary problem-based engineering technology curriculum for associate degree programs. The first phase has been the development of an integrated freshman sequence of courses (ET Core). Using interdisciplinary teams (mathematics, science, technology, and communications), an integrated freshman curriculum framework has been developed. The ET Core is built on the six major physical systems (electrical, mechanical, thermal, fluid, optical, and material) common to the engineering technology programs in the South Carolina system and identifies the freshman level mathematics, science, and introductory technology performance objectives. Because technical communication is essential, a communication framework will also be part of the integrated ET Core. Industry has been involved in validation of the performance objectives and identification of problem-based exercises to allow the classroom activities to model the workplace by focusing on teamwork, communication, and problem solving as well as technical content. The curriculum design permits instruction to be delivered in three one semester integrated courses or in concurrently taught linked courses with coordinated presentation of material.


United States’ businesses and industries are changing their work environment to remain competitive in the world market. One of the major changes involves the technical workforce in shifting from the traditional manual industrial worker to an engineering technician, who both works with his/her hands and applies theoretical knowledge. This expanding role of the engineering technician requires changes in engineering technology programs. Engineering technology programs must identify the new characteristics and skills of the technician and create an educational environment to make it easier for graduates to make the transition from academia to the workplace. Educational programs should model the workplace environment, not just teach about it.

Traditional educational models consisting of isolated courses divided into isolated disciplines do not model the workplace. In order to improve the education of technicians, this isolation of the disciplines must be removed since industry does not operate in an isolated compartmentalized manner. Employers expect technicians to

Wood, J. C. (1998, June), An Interdisciplinary Problem Based Engineering Technology Freshman Curriculum Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1998 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015