June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
College Industry Partnerships
22.360.1 - 22.360.14
Computational Expertise in Engineering: From Industry to Academia – and Back Again.Aligning workforce computing needs with computer science concepts.Claudia E. Vergara, Mark Urban-Lurain, Abdol-Hossein Esfahanian, Daina Briedis, Neeraj Buch, CindeeDresen, Kysha Frazier, Louise Paquette, Thomas F. Wolff, Jon Sticklen Computational skills required to solve disciplinary problems form a key skill set forengineering graduates. Generalizing from the specific computational skills to the mindset ofcomputational thinking enables engineering graduates to see and apply general principles ofcomputation within their discipline. Globalization, international competition, an increasinglydiverse population, and a rapid growth in computational capabilities and infrastructure are someof the factors faced by institutions of higher education. To respond to these challengesinnovation, dynamism and flexibility in curriculum design based on employer input and programquality improvement principles are necessary . The Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering WorkforceNeeds (CPACE) project team addresses these challenges in the context of computationalcompetencies in the engineering disciplines. We developed a partnership among a variety ofstakeholders – post secondary educators represented by and and business, industry and community leaders represented by – to identify thecomputational skills that are essential for a 21st century engineering workforce. Our objective isto revise the undergraduate engineering curricula to address computational problem-solvingcompetencies that are aligned with industry needs and that enable students to integrateconceptual knowledge, technical skills and professional practice. Based on the results of employer interviews and employee surveys we analyzed industryneeds for computational competence both at the practical-tool level and at the computationalthinking level [2, 3]. In this paper we present the results from unpacking the fundamentalcomputer science (CS) concepts from interview and survey data with employers and employees.Since the computational skills identified can be specialized to particular disciplines, industries, oreven companies, we focused on finding common threads in the broad engineering context. Tohelp us identify and map these common threads to CS concepts we drew on the informationtechnology concepts enumerated in the Fluency with Information Technology (FITness)framework . Operationally our mapping process engaged members of the research team doinga mapping on their own, followed by a group discussion to reach a consensus mapping. The chartbelow shows the distribution of the industry data across these computer science concepts. We are using this data-to-CS-concept mapping as a framework to implement curricularrevision in two test-bed programs at (Figure) . Our goal is to better align thecomputational capabilities of students graduating from our engineering programs with the needsof industrial stakeholders. To accomplish this, we are mapping the concepts across all four yearsof the engineering curricula beginning with two engineering disciplines, Chemical and Civil, at and pre-engineering courses at . Our objective is to introducea series of authentic engineering problems developed in consultation with stakeholders fromindustry, employees, and faculty from engineering disciplines to ensure that the problems arerepresentative of engineering practice, disciplinary context, and computing concepts. Theseproblems provide a context where students are required to apply the various computationalconcepts for their solution. Mapping CPACE Interview Data to Computer Science Concepts for EngineeringREFERENCES Lattuca, L. R., Terenzini, P. T., & Volkwein, J. F. 2006. Engineering change: A study of theimpact of EC2000. Baltimore, MD: ABET, Inc. Authors. (2009). Leveraging workforce needs to inform curricular change in computingeducation for engineering: The CPACE project. Computers in Education Journal, Vol XVIIII(4), 84-98. Authors. (2009, October 18-21). Aligning computing education with engineering workforcecomputational needs: New curricular directions to improve computational thinking inengineering graduates. Paper presented at the Frontiers in Education, San Antonio, TX. Being Fluent with Information Technology Committee on Information Technology Literacy,National Research Council. (1999).
Vergara, C. E., & Urban-Lurain, M., & Esfahanian, A., & Briedis, D., & Buch, N., & Wolff, T. F., & Sticklen, J., & Dresen, C., & Frazier, K. L., & Paquette, L. (2011, June), Computational Expertise in Engineering: Aligning Workforce Computing Needs with Computer Science Concepts Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17641
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