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Assessing Student Learning About Engineering Design In Project Based Courses

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Potpurri Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.227.1 - 9.227.14



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Paper Authors

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Zsuzsanna Szabo

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Darrell Sabers

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Reid Bailey

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

Session 3425

Assessing Student Learning about Engineering Design in Project-Based Courses Reid Bailey, Zsuzsanna Szabo, Darrell Sabers Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering/Educational Psychology/Educational Psychology University of Arizona

ABSTRACT Teaching first year engineering students in a meaningful way is an issue struggled with at schools around the world. At the University of Arizona, our Introduction to Engineering course focuses on engineering design, communication, and teamwork primarily through three design projects over the course of one semester. While the course is fairly mature (it has been in existence, evolving to its current state, for roughly the past ten years), currently we do not know what our freshman students are learning with respect to the learning objectives of the course. We have embarked on a study to assess exactly what our students are learning in Introduction to Engineering. Still in its early stages, this study is aimed at understanding what the students learn about engineering design through their experiences in the course and using that knowledge to improve the course. In this paper, we focus on the strategy for assessing our students’ engineering design knowledge. The backbone of this strategy involves a pre and posttest where students critique a proposed process for designing a product (e.g., a shopping cart, a device for counting eggs). The development of the pre and posttests as well as the detailed analytic rubric used to assess student responses is addressed in this paper. Such an assessment strategy should have broad applicability to the growing number of project-based first year engineering courses.

MOTIVATION A core learning objective of the first year ENGR 102 Introduction to Engineering course at the University of Arizona is for students to learn about engineering design as a process. We want students to learn how to identify needs, develop solutions to meet those needs, and implement those solutions. The course is geared towards this goal with three team-based design projects. At this point however, we have nothing more than anecdotal evidence that our students know more about engineering design after the course than they do before. Our strategy for assessing students’ design knowledge more accurately is presented in this paper.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Szabo, Z., & Sabers, D., & Bailey, R. (2004, June), Assessing Student Learning About Engineering Design In Project Based Courses Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13058

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