Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Honors Education, known as education for high-achieving students, originated from the “Pass/Honors Examination” of Oxford University in the 19th century and has a history of over 100 years. With the goal of providing specialized and personalized education for gifted undergraduates, honors education has played an important role in the cultivation of excellent students. Through literature review and on-site observation, it was found that many variations of honors programs have been developed for engineering students, including Honors Programs, Scholars Programs, and the Engineering Experimental Classes. These honors programs for engineering students are called “engineering honors education/programs” in this paper.
Previous research on the introduction, practice, experience and assessment of engineering honors programs has provided a foundation for this study. However, growing international cooperation and competition has increased the globalization of engineering. Students need to understand differences and similarities in the diversified engineering educational systems. In addition, administrators and faculty also need to understand these differences and potentially make improvements in curriculum based on these findings. Therefore, this paper takes the First-year Engineering Honors Program at the Ohio State University in the United States and the Engineering Experimental Class at Beihang University in China as their case studies of international comparison of the entire first two years’ curriculum. As an intermediary of teaching activities and the basic guarantee of achieving educational goals, course is a blueprint and plan for cultivating what types of people. This paper takes courses as the research object, compares the whole course setting, and studies the syllabi of basic courses and teaching methods reflected in the syllabi. Methodologies including text analysis, frequency analysis, comparative research and keywords extraction are being used to collect and analyze the keywords extracted from the course learning objectives, topics and outcomes in the course syllabi. Tools used for these analyses include Excel2016 and ywordle2.0.
By comparative study, the similarities, differences and features of engineering honors education in both countries are revealed. On the whole, the course categories for each academic year in both programs are the same, which reflects the course setting of current engineering education and even engineering honors education. As for the basic courses (mathematics, physics, chemistry and life science), both programs focus on the students’ understanding of the basic concepts, principles and knowledge of the subject, as well as the abilities to utilize the concepts and principles to solve problems. However, the numbers and categories of basic courses offered by the Experimental Class in China exceed those of the First-year Engineering Honors Program, indicating more emphasis on basic subject teaching in Chinese engineering education. The American program focuses more on basic engineering education, and has specifically set up ENGR1281 and ENGR1282 to improve the retention rate in engineering. Moreover, the honors program in America places more emphasis on students’ practical ability, capacity to solve practical problems, as well as an emphasis on teamwork abilities. Through hands-on lab experiences and project-based experimental design, students are able to experience the real engineering environment.
Keywords: Engineering Honors Education, First-year Engineering Honors Program, Engineering Experimental Class, Comparative Analysis, Courses Syllabi Analysis, Keywords Extraction
Fu, J., & Grzybowski, D. M., & Lei, Q., & Cheng, D. (2018, June), Board 104 : Comparison of Engineering Honors Education in America and China—Based on the Analysis of Course Syllabi in the First-year Program and Experimental Class Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29863
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