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Connected Mechanical Engineering Curriculum through a Fundamental Learning Integration Platform

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ME Demonstrations and Laboratories

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Thomas A. Feldhausen Kansas State University

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Thomas Feldhausen is an instructor for the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department at Kansas State University. He received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University in May of 2017. As well as being an instructor, he works at Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technologies as a process engineer in Kansas City.

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Bruce R. Babin Kansas State University, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

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Dr. Babin is an instructor in the Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department at Kansas State University. He has been a part of the university for over 8 years. Previously he worked at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson Arizona and was a High School teacher in Topeka, Kansas.

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Emily Dringenberg Kansas State University

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Dr. Dringenberg is a teaching assistant professor of general engineering at Kansas State University. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering (Kansas State '08), a MS in Industrial Engineering (Purdue '14) and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education (Purdue ’15). Her doctoral work focused on using qualitative methods to explore the experiences of students engaging with engineering design problems, and she is currently working to develop research-based introductory curriculum for her students centered on engineering problem solving. Additionally, Dr. Dringenberg's research interests include transfer of learning, growth mindset, personal epistemology, and design learning.

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To keep students engaged in learning, educational engineering institutions need to enhance their curricula. Courses within curricula need to be connected in a way that is meaningful and promotes student engagement through hands on learning. With courses designed like silos of knowledge, there must be a realistic and practical tie between them. Prior exploratory work identifies that curriculum integration is beneficial to all students involved.

Using the methodologies from previous course integrations, the researchers have developed a fundamental learning integration platform (FLIP) that uses a physical object to integrate an entire mechanical engineering curriculum. This learning platform has three desired outcomes: 1) it connects the entire curriculum through spiral learning, 2) it creates a physical connection between theoretical and practical engineering through hands on learning, and 3) it engages and includes every student in the learning process.

Using experts to identify key course concepts in a mechanical engineering curriculum, a single physical object was developed that is applicable to each course. This physical object acts as the FLIP. With the curriculum centered around it, the platform ties each course together. As identified in relevant research, course integration will result in: 1) higher retention rates of all students involved, 2) increased critical thinking ability with integrated problems and 3) increased inclusion of students in the classroom setting.

The results of this FLIP curriculum will be used to help advance progress towards a fully integrated curriculum in mechanical engineering benefiting both students and educational institutions through applied hands on learning.

Feldhausen, T. A., & Babin, B. R., & Dringenberg, E. (2017, June), Connected Mechanical Engineering Curriculum through a Fundamental Learning Integration Platform Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28068

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