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Developing Problem Solving And Team Skills Across The Engineering Curriculum

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Design and Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.399.1 - 7.399.21



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Paper Authors

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William Snyder

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Mike Toole

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Mike Hanyak

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Mathew Higgins

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Daniel Hyde

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Edward Mastascusa

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Brian Hoyt

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Michael Prince

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Margot Vigeant

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Session 2630

A Conceptual Framework for Progressively Developing Students' Team and Problem Solving Skills Across the Curriculum

Michael Prince, Michael Hanyak, Brian Hoyt, Daniel C. Hyde, E.J. Mastascusa, William Snyder, T. Michael Toole, Mathew Higgins, Steve Shooter, Marie Wagner, Margot Vigeant, Maurice Aburdene

Bucknell University


Project Catalyst is an NSF-funded initiative to promote systemic change in engineering education by utilizing proven instructional design techniques, transforming the classroom into an active learning environment, and incorporating the use of information technology in the teaching/learning process. In the first two years of Project Catalyst, a core group of faculty from all five engineering departments at Bucknell University has begun implementing this focused shift by systematically incorporating collaborative and problem-based learning into their courses. This emphasis has required a coordinated effort to introduce significant elements of team building and problem solving into the undergraduate curriculum.

This paper discusses a conceptual framework for progressively developing students' problem solving and team skills across the curriculum. The framework is modeled after the university's writing program and identifies introductory, intermediate and advanced problem solving and team building courses that are staged through the undergraduate engineering programs. This staged framework provides a structure to guide faculty in selecting teaming and problem solving activities to be emphasized in a given course.

To assist faculty in introducing appropriate teaming and problem solving activities, Project Catalyst has also developed instructional modules for faculty that focus on team building and problem solving at each level. These modules are course and curriculum independent and can be used in any course at other institutions. This paper will also describe preliminary assessment results of the curriculum structure. It concludes with the future work for the remaining year of this 3-year NSF-funded project.


Bucknell's College of Engineering is implementing Project Catalyst, a three-year effort to develop a general-purpose model for the nationally recognized need of systemic engineering education reform. The plan is to integrate instructional design techniques, transform the

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Snyder, W., & Toole, M., & Hanyak, M., & Higgins, M., & Hyde, D., & Mastascusa, E., & Hoyt, B., & Prince, M., & Vigeant, M. (2002, June), Developing Problem Solving And Team Skills Across The Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10254

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