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Assessment Of An Introduction To A Civil And Environmental Engineering Course

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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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.236.1 - 9.236.9



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Paper Authors

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Philip Parker

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Max Anderson

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

Session # 1526

Assessment of an Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Course

Philip J. Parker and Max L. Anderson Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Wisconsin-Platteville


The freshman year for an engineering student is critical to his or her retention in an engineering program. The typical first-year engineering curriculum in the US contains a rigorous workload of science and mathematics courses, along with two or three courses in the humanities. Often, the only exposure to engineering that students obtain in this first year is in an introductory engineering course.

The purpose of this paper is to summarize the efforts by the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to improve the freshman engineering experience. Specifically, we have focused on the introductory engineering course.

This work was funded by the National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Adaptation and Implementation (A&I) program. We adapted the “Sooner City” concept from the University of Oklahoma (OU). Sooner City is a “virtual city,” and was created to enable OU to incorporate “design across the curriculum,” in which all CEE courses have a design component that builds on designs created in previous courses1. Students use this virtual city to design a variety of civil engineering projects. For example, students in a geotechnical engineering course can obtain soil characteristics data from the program and use that information to design a building foundation. In a structural engineering class following this, students design the structure that will be supported by this foundation.

Our adaptation of the Sooner City concept was to take the design across the curriculum concept and apply it to the first-semester introductory engineering course. Rather than an entire city, freshmen would complete five design projects centered on a park on campus.

The goals of the project are:

GOAL 1: Stimulate interest in engineering among freshmen; GOAL 2: Ensure that freshmen find the revised course “fun” yet challenging; GOAL 3: Enhance various “soft” skills such as time management, communication skills, teamwork, etc.;

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

Parker, P., & Anderson, M. (2004, June), Assessment Of An Introduction To A Civil And Environmental Engineering Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13309

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