June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.349.1 - 23.349.19
Creating the Framework for Better Aerospace EngineersThe Aerospace Engineering Department at Institution believes that a successful engineer isequipped to innovate and create within the technical community and to inspire and informsociety as a whole. Creating the framework for this success embodies the educational process atInstitution and constitutes the essence of the Introduction to Aerospace Engineering coursetaught during the freshman year. The course has evolved into one capable of capturing theimagination of students and guiding them through three consecutive projects that encompassAerodynamics, Structures, Rockets, Orbital Mechanics, and Spacecraft Design.The course resides in a key position in the aerospace curriculum. Taken either in the first orsecond semester of the students’ college career, the course has substantial influence over thestudents’ opinion and enthusiasm about aerospace engineering. The course serves to ferry thestudent from high school interest to an understanding of what the four year degree will provide.The power that resides in this introductory course is the motivation for innovation in ourteaching process. Our objective can be viewed metaphorically as a tree: this course constructs theintellectual trunk and branches of a sapling, so that it may grow larger and sprout leaves as thestudent progresses through the coursework.The course creates this framework through several complementary means. The lower levelcourse structure is simple: combine hands on experience with lecture based material and context,so that each student may connect the dots within aerospace engineering. Then complement theprojects and lectures by connecting each team of four students with an upperclassman mentor.The mentor provides in-class guidance and is a peer source of information about the department,classes, experiences, and opportunities.The projects are exploratory in nature. The first project guides the students through a basic wingdesign, fabrication, and load testing. The second project guides the students through basic rocketdesign, fabrication, and launch. The final project guides the students through design of aspacecraft and an interplanetary trajectory. This paper will discuss in greater detail how theIntroduction to Aerospace Engineering course at Institution has evolved through the past fewiterations, what lessons learned have been identified, what future implementations are planned,and how the course builds the framework for better aerospace engineers.
Bennett, T. J., & Nichols, K. D., & Shryock, K. J. (2013, June), Creating the Framework for Better Aerospace Engineers Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19363
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015