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Critical Thinking Skills in First-Year Engineering Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Lizzie Santiago West Virginia University

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Lizzie Y. Santiago, Ph.D., is a teaching associate professor for the freshman engineering program in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. She holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and has postdoctoral training in neural tissue engineering and molecular neurosciences. She teaches freshman engineering courses and supports the outreach and recruiting activities of the college. Her research interests include neural tissue engineering, stem cell research, absorption of air pollutants in human upper airways, attrition and university retention, increasing student awareness and interest in research and engineering, STEM education, and recruitment and retention of women and minorities.

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Anika Coolbaugh Pirkey West Virginia University Orcid 16x16

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Sai Sadhika Veeramachaneni

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Attrition is high among first year engineering students that are not calculus ready. These non-calculus ready students start college not only with the disadvantage of lacking proper calculus skills, but they also are not exposed to engineering concepts early in their education. These students tend to migrate out of engineering at higher rates in comparison with calculus ready students or leave college without finishing a degree. Most institutional efforts and resources are allocated to engineering students that are calculus ready.

This paper describes a course that was developed to teach critical thinking skills to non-calculus ready first year engineering students. The course implements the CDIO (conceive, design, implement and operate) educational framework to teach students engineering problem solving skills, while reinforcing their critical thinking skills. This paper summarizes the implementation of the course, the course material developed, and illustrates how critical thinking skills were measured in participants in the study. Administrators and Institutions in need for methods to increase the retention and graduation rate of non-calculus ready students will benefit from attending this presentation.

Santiago, L., & Pirkey, A. C., & Veeramachaneni, S. S. (2016, June), Critical Thinking Skills in First-Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26602

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