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Better Preparing Students For Materials Classes

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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

6.236.1 - 6.236.9



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Paper Authors

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William Jordan

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Norman Pumphrey

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

Session 1664

Better Preparing Students for Materials Classes

William Jordan and Norm Pumphrey Louisiana Tech University


In the fall of 1999, the six engineering programs at Louisiana Tech University implemented new curricula that integrated math and specific engineering courses that all freshmen and sophomore engineering students take. Previous program-level materials courses were combined. We created a new materials course that is taken by sophomore students from five of our six engineering disciplines.

This materials class is closely integrated with the math and statics/strength courses that the students take at the same time. In the Fall 1999 quarter, all sophomore students were put into these new courses, regardless of whether they had taken the integrated freshman courses. The students who have taken the materials course during the last two years are in two different groups: one that has had the integrated curriculum background and one that has had a traditional background.

We wanted to examine two different aspects about this new curriculum. The first aspect is whether we are more effectively teaching materials engineering with our new course. The second aspect is whether the new integrated curriculum better prepares the students for our materials course. We believe that the new materials course is a better educational experience for the students, and so reported in our 2000 ASEE paper1. This paper concentrates on the second aspect: the effect of the students’ backgrounds on their performance in the materials class.

The common materials course was taught to three sections (83 students) in the Fall 1999 quarter. However, the small percentage of integrated students (about 25%) caused us to expand our study to include the students who are taking the course in the Fall 2000 quarter. Seventy-five students in two separate sections completed the course. There was a more even mix of students with the integrated and nonintegrated backgrounds in the sections (38 are integrated while 37 are traditional).

Our ASEE paper presented at the 2000 Conference described this new materials course in some detail.1 This paper uses data from both years and emphasizes the issue of how the students’ backgrounds affect their performance in the materials course. The students in the integrated curriculum continue to show superior performance when compared to students from the traditional background, indicating that the freshman integrated curriculum better prepares a student for success in a required follow-up course.

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

Jordan, W., & Pumphrey, N. (2001, June), Better Preparing Students For Materials Classes Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8954

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