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Can An Integrated First Year Program Continue To Work As Well After The Novelty Has Worn Off?

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Conference

2001 Annual Conference

Location

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001

ISSN

2153-5965

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

6.258.1 - 6.258.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/8979

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Raymond Laoulache

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Nixon Pendergrass

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Emily Fowler

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

Session 2453

Can An Integrated First-Year Program Continue To Work As Well After The Novelty Has Worn Off?

N. A. Pendergrass, Raymond N. Laoulache, Emily Fowler University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Abstract

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) began a successful, integrated, first year engineering curriculum in September 1998. This new program dramatically changed the freshman year and was initially very successful. Data from the first year pilot program was very positive. Assessment showed that it • more than halved the attrition rate of first-year engineering students • nearly doubled the percentage of students passing two semesters of physics on schedule • increased the percentage of students passing calculus on schedule by 40% • increased performance of students on common final exams in calculus by more than a grade point and a half, despite having a significantly higher percentage of students actually take the final.

By September 1999, the new curriculum had become the required program for approximately 80% of first-year engineering majors at UMD. Expansion produced some unexpected challenges and the paper will show assessment data indicating both positive and negative changes in performance in various aspects of the program. We will give insight into the problems and opportunities that developed as the program grew. We will also describe how assessment provided feedback to help decision making.

I. Introduction

After several years of development, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) began a successful, integrated, first year engineering curriculum in September 1998. This new program was called IMPULSE (Integrated Math, Physics and Undergraduate Laboratory Science, and Engineering). The new curriculum dramatically changed the freshman year because it included • integrating multiple subjects • teaching and using teamwork among students and faculty • using technology-assisted classrooms to accelerate learning • using active and cooperative learning1 • encouraging formation of a learning community of students and faculty • using rigorous assessment to evaluate and improve performance.

Forty-eight calculus-ready engineering students began the pilot curriculum in September 1998 and by midterm it was obvious that the program was having a remarkable effect. Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Laoulache, R., & Pendergrass, N., & Fowler, E. (2001, June), Can An Integrated First Year Program Continue To Work As Well After The Novelty Has Worn Off? Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://peer.asee.org/8979

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