June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.6.1 - 26.6.21
Application of and Preliminary Results from Implementing the First Year Engineering Classification Scheme: Course Foci and Outcome FrequencyThe Classification Scheme for First Year Engineering Courses is a tool that was developed toenable university engineering departments to authentically compare first year engineeringcourse(s) to other institutions and accurately award credit to transfer students. This schemeoutlines the finite list of outcomes that are commonly found in a first year engineering course. Inthe process of validating the classification scheme, a workshop was held where a group of 28professors with an inherent interest in first-year engineering were tasked to classify their “Introto Engineering” course at their respective universities using an iteration of the classificationscheme. Participants ‘checked’ outcomes covered in their introductory course, allowing forcomparison between similar courses.With 28 participants spanning 24 different universities, the completed schemes became asizeable sample of different introductory engineering courses offered at a portion of the nation’scolleges. Two different methodologies were employed in this effort. First, the outcomes checkedin each course were plotted using a radial chart in order to provide a visual representation of thecourse itself. Due to the visual nature of these charts, multiple courses could be directlycompared. Computing the statistical five number summary for the data produces boundaries andregions defined by the quartiles and that allow for courses to be visually compared to others inthe sample. The working hypothesis tied to this methodology is that a first year engineeringcourse can be assigned at most four unique areas of concentration, operationally defined ascourse foci, given by the heading outcomes in the scheme. Validation of the hypothesis wouldlead to defining foci of courses to extract common themes and group similar programsaccordingly.The second methodology involves the examination of the individual course outcomes to find thefrequency with which each outcome was marked. Grouping by quartiles again allows for popularcourse outcomes to be flagged and holistically interpreted for meaning. We hypothesize theexistence of a finite number of “Introduction to Engineering” courses which can be categorizedbased on the sample and verified by investigating larger populations. Finally, defining contentfrequently covered implies the existence of assessment gaps that can be further determinedthrough both methodologies.This paper will present the development of both methodologies and the implications of theresults generated with respect to the data set. Discussion on expanding the application of theClassification Scheme for First Year Engineering Courses will also be included.
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