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Developing a Studio Model Computer Curriculum for First-Year Undergraduate Students

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Military and Veterans Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Military and Veterans

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Thomas E. Mertz Kansas State University - Polytechnic Campus

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Thomas Mertz is an associate professor at Kansas State University, Polytechnic Campus, in the School of Integrated Studies. He received his M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Kansas in 1981 and subsequently attended the Ph.D. program at Temple University. He has taught
computer science since 1977 as well as working as an independent software developer for a variety of companies. He is currently the program option coordinator for the computer systems, web development and digital media technology programs.

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William E. Genereux Kansas State University - Polytechnic Campus Orcid 16x16

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William Genereux is a Professor of Computer & Digital Media Technology at Kansas State University - Polytechnic Campus. His research interests are in media literacy and the educational use of digital media technology. He has been working with computers and technology for the past 30 years.

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Troy Harding Kansas State University - Polytechnic Campus

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Computer Systems Technology
Kansas State University - Polytechnic Campus

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Tim Bower Kansas State University - Polytechnic Campus


Katrina M Lewis

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Katrina Lewis received her Bachelor of Interior Architecture in 1998 and Master of Regional and Community Planning in 2001 from Kansas State University. She has taught design studios at the college level since 1998: at Kansas State University in the Department of Interior Architecture and Product Design for over fifteen years, at Chongqing Jinazhu University in the People’s Republic of China for one year, in Afghanistan at Kabul University for two summers, and in Bangladesh at the Asian University for Women for one year.

Lewis’ scholarly interests include: teaching methodology, especially with beginning design students; international educational experiences, cultural exchanges, and study abroad; and the intersection between design and social justice. She received the honor of being selected as a Rotary Peace Fellow for professional studies in peace and conflict resolution at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand in Summer 2012. The Fellowship shaped Lewis’ desire to explore a stronger understanding between design and peace professionals and higher education.

In 2014, Lewis was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the Department of Interior Architecture and Product Design. She has taught in the College’s first-year Environmental Design Program since 2001, and currently serves as the College of Architecture, Planning and Design Environmental Design Studies Program First Year Studio Coordinator. In addition, Katrina teaches a contemporary design seminar for Interior Architecture and Product Design. Her creative outlets include travel, reading, fiber arts, and painting.

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Michael Lee Oetken Kansas State University

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As an Assistant Professor for Kansas State University, I teach courses in the areas of web design, graphic design, digital media design and web development. My areas of expertise are graphic design, HTML, CSS, typography, branding, motion graphics, video production and digital media design. My previous positions in industry as Creative Director, Art Director and Assistant Director of Marketing have garnered an abundant amount of experience and knowledge that I can now pass down to my students through teaching and mentorship.

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This paper describes what was learned while implementing a reinvented undergraduate computer technology curriculum during the first two years of its rollout. The paper includes the activities of the freshman cohorts of computer students who were the first to experience the curriculum redesign.

Perhaps the biggest paradigm shift in the new curriculum was the adoption of the studio model of instruction. Borrowed from other traditions such as art and architecture, the studio provides a hands-on approach to learning that is ideal for computing students; particularly for the large percentage of students who attend our school while already working full time or returning from military service. The first years of using a new approach to teaching always have unique challenges. The computer faculty made decisions about what was important to address in the first year of the curriculum, and what projects to use to keep students engaged in and excited about the field of computing. Since the studio model radically departs from the single instructor classroom lecture model, multiple professors were utilized in the same freshman studio course, each bringing in their own unique areas of expertise.

Along with the studio model, electronic portfolios were implemented for the assessment of student learning, as a benchmark that students must pass to advance to the upper-class courses, and for professional presentation to potential employers and clients. The benefits and challenges that were experienced during the first two years of using freshman studios will be discussed as well as what was learned from our assessment efforts.

Mertz, T. E., & Genereux, W. E., & Harding, T., & Bower, T., & Lewis, K. M., & Oetken, M. L. (2019, June), Developing a Studio Model Computer Curriculum for First-Year Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32635

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: © 2019 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