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Development And Assessment Of A Revised Introductory Engineering Course

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Administering First-Year Programs

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.392.1 - 15.392.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Philip Parker University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development and Assessment of a Revised Introductory Engineering Course: Work in Progress Introduction

GE1030 (Introduction to Engineering Projects) is required of all engineering students at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and is taken by most students in their second semester. Students who enroll in engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville enter the General Engineering Department, and do not matriculate into the degree-granting programs until they have satisfied certain requirements. Thus, students have from two to four semesters before they need to finalize a decision on which engineering major they will pursue. Consequently, the importance of GE1030 is obvious in the eyes of many faculty, given that the objectives of the course are to introduce students to the seven engineering disciplines available at the university and to inspire them to continue in engineering.

In recent years, anecdotal evidence suggested that this course was not meeting its objectives. Some faculty members complained that the course was not rigorous enough and that students found it “useless.” Consequently, some of the engineering programs proposed dropping GE1030 as a required course. A committee was formed in response to this and countered with a revised course. The programs that had threatened to drop the course adopted a “wait and see” attitude. If the modified course represented a significant improvement over the old course, these programs would continue to require the course.

This paper describes the modified course and presents preliminary assessment results that address the question: have the modifications worked? That is, does the revised course (hereafter referred to as the “new course”) meet its objectives better than the original course (“old course”)?

Background – The Old Course

The old course was created for the Fall 2004 semester. It had a prerequisite of General Engineering 1000 - Engineering Success Skills and was a one-credit course that met once a week for a 52-minute period. From Fall 2004 until Spring 2009, the enrollment for GE 1000 averaged 507 students for the fall semester and 40 students for the spring semester. The enrollment for GE 1030 averaged 343 students for the spring semester and 91students for the fall semester. (Typically, all new freshmen take GE1000 in the fall semester and GE1030 in the spring semester while transfer students and students who failed the courses take the courses in the alternate semesters.)

The old course was designed to use four interdisciplinary modules throughout the semester. The hope was to keep the class size around 32. Each module was jointly developed by two or more faculty from two or more departments. The content of each module was to include a:

Parker, P. (2010, June), Development And Assessment Of A Revised Introductory Engineering Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16228

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