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Assessing Innovative, Project Based Learning In Drexel's Freshman Core Curriculum

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.209.1 - 6.209.12



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Paper Authors

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Valarie Arms

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J. Weggel

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Aly Valentine

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

Session 2453

Assessing Innovative, Project- Based Learning In Drexel’s Freshman Core Curriculum

Aly Valentine, Valarie M. Arms, J. Richard Weggel

Drexel University


Although ABET and ASEE have cited the importance of innovation in engineering curriculum development, one of the enduring challenges is their assessment. In fact, ABET’s EC2000 criteria reflect the program goals initiated by Drexel’s E4 (An Enhanced Engineering Education for Engineers), a program initially funded by the National Science Foundation. That program won ABET’s inaugural Award for Innovation in Curriculum Development. The Drexel Engineering Curriculum (tDEC), which grew out of the efforts of E4, have continued to grapple with the difficult matter of assessing an innovative program which defies standard quantitative measurements. Since E4’s inception, evaluation has included quantitative analysis augmented with qualitative analysis to indicate the positive direction for growth.

The real challenge to maintaining innovation in a curriculum is to answer the question, "When the program is no longer new, by what measures should it be renewed?".

tDEC seeks to educate freshmen engineers who are not only technically proficient but well rounded, individuals who understand the societal impact of their actions. An integrated curriculum provides hands-on experiences with several projects that involve group work and holistic thinking. Because the projects are interdisciplinary team efforts, a single grade to a student or a course evaluation in one discipline fails to convey the learning experience. Quantitative assessment augmented with qualitative assessment is more likely to capture the entirety of the learning process.

While course assessment allows the institution to verify that the course meets some criteria set forth by ABET, a more comprehensive assessment tool is needed to insure the inclusion of broader goals such as life-long learning, the global and societal impact of engineering work, team work and an understanding of the multi-faceted design process. From its inception, the E4 program actively solicited faculty and student participation in a qualitative assessment process. That culture of continuous quality improvement remains an integral part of the tDEC program. Students are encouraged to become active participants in the education and assessment processes. A weekly quality circle meeting promotes a positive, interactive venue for students, faculty and staff to share concerns and ideas. Therefore, a logical extension of the quality circle

"Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society of Engineering Education"

Arms, V., & Weggel, J., & Valentine, A. (2001, June), Assessing Innovative, Project Based Learning In Drexel's Freshman Core Curriculum Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8921

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