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Assessing Progress: Evaluating The Effectiveness Of A Three Course Introduction To Aerospace Engineering And Related Curriculum Modifications

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Best Practices in Aerospace Education

Tagged Division

Aerospace

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

13.227.1 - 13.227.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4253

Download Count

10

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Paper Authors

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Thomas Hannigan Mississippi State University

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Thomas Hannigan is an Instructor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. He received his BS and MS degrees from Mississippi State University. His interests include introductory aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, airplane flight mechanics, and he coordinates laboratory activities for the department. He holds FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certification for single, multi engine and instrument airplanes.

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Keith Koenig Mississippi State University

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Keith Koenig is a Professor of Aerospace Engineering. He received his BS degree from Mississippi State University and his MS and PhD degrees from the California Institute of Technology. Prof. Koenig teaches introductory courses in aerospace engineering and flight mechanics, and upper division courses in aerodynamics and propulsion. His research areas include rocket and scramjet propulsion and sports equipment engineering.

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Lorenzo Coley Mississippi State University

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Lorenzo Coley is a first year graduate teaching assistant in the aerospace engineering laboratories. He obtained his BS degree in aerospace engineering from Mississippi State University, and is currently enrolled as a candidate for a master of science degree. He assists in teaching upper division laboratory classes and also assists in the conduct of laboratory and programming activities for lower division introductory classes.

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Christopher Hamm Mississippi State University

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Chris Hamm is a first year graduate teaching assistant in the aerospace engineering laboratories. He obtained his BS degree in aerospace engineering from Mississippi State University, and is currently enrolled as a candidate for a master of science degree. He assists in teaching upper division laboratory classes and also assists in the conduct of laboratory and programming activities for lower division introductory classes.

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

Assessing Progress: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Three Course Introduction to Aerospace Engineering and Related Curriculum Modifications

Abstract

A three semester introductory sequence in Aerospace Engineering was implemented concurrently with the 1999 ABET evaluation under ABET 2000 criteria, and was modified considerably to account for curriculum changes through the evaluation period of 2005. As further program modifications have since been made to allow concentrations in aeronautics and astronautics with branching occurring during the last semester of the lower division, this introductory sequence has become a very important influence on the choice of concentration. Additionally, as course prerequisites and content have been juggled, the material content of these introductory courses has been significantly modified. The ongoing assessments of these courses and the related courses that follow are examined, and changes to those courses and the resulting effects are evaluated. The assessment process to meet the criteria currently used for evaluation is not a static process, but rather a dynamic evolution of a process designed to approach a moving target. As the technology of both instruction and industry have changed, particularly with respect to computer software and hardware, the curriculum used to train entry level engineers has evolved to continue to meet accreditation criteria and constituent needs. Computers and software tools in the hands of lower division students are typically different, often much more capable, than the tools in the hands of the students in the upper division. This occurs as incoming students are required to purchase computers that are intended to meet their undergraduate educational needs according to specifications which climb higher for entering freshmen with each successive year. In the introductory sequence, the students will receive the latest licensed software versions available to match the computer specifications, and instructors in the introductory sequence must work hard to insure that not only do the students receive the latest instruction, but that information on software capabilities and limitations are disseminated to other instructors in the upper division in a timely fashion. Thus the evolution of the introductory courses serves to maintain high expectations for students, as well as pushing the technological advancement of the upper division coursework. Through the discussion of the assessment of these courses and related curriculum changes, an effective process is illustrated that has been used through two major ABET evaluations, and that highlights the changing nature of the requirements established by assessment criteria.

An Introductory Sequence of Courses is Established

A three semester introductory sequence in aerospace engineering was implemented concurrently with the 1999 ABET evaluation under ABET 2000 criteria. Although those courses were not evaluated during that visit because they were an experimental offering, a curriculum review was underway and an implementation plan for updating the curriculum was subject to scrutiny during that visit. As the full plan was implemented, a programming course, an introductory course in flight mechanics, and a graphics communication course were eliminated in favor of including all of the original elements of those required courses into this introductory sequence.1 The impetus of establishing the introductory sequence was in seeking to increase retention of students by

Hannigan, T., & Koenig, K., & Coley, L., & Hamm, C. (2008, June), Assessing Progress: Evaluating The Effectiveness Of A Three Course Introduction To Aerospace Engineering And Related Curriculum Modifications Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4253

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: © 2008 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