June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.392.1 - 14.392.7
Current Events Articles for Engineering Students Abstract
For the past year, a group of students and faculty have been engaging in weekly discussions regarding articles from Tuesday’s Science section of the New York Times. This initiative was started to foster general science and educational literacy among engineering students, as well as to better engage students and faculty in discussions regarding current topics and issues confronting society as a whole. The group meets weekly for a lunch meeting to discuss a subset of the week’s articles. One faculty member is responsible for identifying approximately four articles each week that form the basis for our initial discussion. The specific articles that will be discussed are determined by a vote at the start of the meeting as students get their food and drink.
A group of engineering students and faculty have been engaged in a weekly discussion of articles from the ‘Science’ section of the New York Times. This is facilitated through the New York Times student readership program. The program supplies free copies of the newspaper to students (and faculty) on college campuses. It provides a forum for students and faculty to engage in discussions surrounding the current news, each bringing their own expertise and opinion to the group.
The weekly forum, funded by the college of engineering, provides food (pizza) and drink for all interested students and faculty. Students and faculty have a chance to meet informally outside of the classroom environment and discuss current topics that are directly relevant to the fields of science and engineering. Advertisements for the forums are distributed throughout the college, and several upper-division engineering courses require some level of participation.
The reading group described in this paper is meant to provide an informal forum for students and faculty to discuss contemporary issues. This interaction, and anticipated reduction in communication barriers between faculty and students, is considered to be one of the primary reasons for the existence of this group. At the same time, faculty members and engineering programs can use our reading group to assess ABET criterion 3, outcome j, a knowledge of contemporary issues, by making assignments that involve attending and discussing a news article with the group. The ability to measure this type of knowledge gain is important. In 2007, a study involving a small number of senior students in eight different engineering programs found students to be relatively unaware of contemporary issues in their field and unaware of current global concerns 1. Their ability to communicate and participate in discussion without either dominating or withdrawing was also a problem.
Faculty members are addressing measurement of knowledge of contemporary issues in a variety of ways. Two ways for assessing this knowledge involve courses at the freshman level 2, 3 or in senior design 4, 5. Courter and Johnson looked at forty students in a basic communications course that were also part of a first-year interest group (FIG) that involved common linked courses.
Todd, B., & Warren, G., & Burkett, S., & Cordes, D., & Brown, M. (2009, June), Current Events Articles For Engineering Students Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5640
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