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Development and Implementation of Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Challenge-Based Instruction to Increase Student Retention and Engagement

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD I: Attacking the Problems of Retention in the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

15

Page Numbers

22.471.1 - 22.471.15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17752

Download Count

28

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Paper Authors

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Arturo A Fuentes University of Texas, Pan American

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Dr. Arturo Fuentes is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas, Pan American. He received his Masters and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University. His current research interests are in the areas of engineering education, nanofiber reinforced composites, non-destructive evaluation, and finite element analysis.

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Horacio Vasquez University of Texas, Pan American

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Dr. Horacio Vasquez is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), in Edinburg, Texas. His current research interests are in the areas of control systems, mechatronics, measurements and instrumentation, renewable energy, and engineering education.

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Robert A. Freeman University of Texas, Pan American

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Dr. Robert A. Freeman has been on the faculty of The University of Texas System for over 25 years and is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UTPA. His research interests include; Kinematic and dynamic modeling, analysis, design and control of multi-rigid-body linkage systems; Robotics; Biomechanics; and Engineering education.

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Abstract

Development and Implementation of Introduction to Mechanical EngineeringChallenge-Based Instruction to Increase Student Retention and Engagement AbstractThis paper discusses a series of introduction to mechanical engineering challenges developed toincrease student retention and engagement. Studies have shown that minority science,technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students leave STEM undergraduate fields in partdue to lack of real world connections to their classroom learning experiences. Our efforts toaddress this issue include changing the teaching methodology. The Introduction to MechanicalEngineering is a freshman engineering course that introduces the students to the engineeringcollege education and profession. The challenge-based instruction (CBI) curriculum developedfor the Introduction to Mechanical Engineering course includes challenges, lecture and handoutmaterials, hands-on activities, and assessment tools. CBI is a form of inquiry based learningwhich can be thought of as teaching backwards strategy. When implementing CBI, a challenge ispresented first, and the supporting theory required to solve the challenge is presented second.CBI is built around the How People Learn (HPL) framework for effective learning environmentsand is realized and anchored by the STAR Legacy Cycle, as developed and fostered by theVaNTH NSF ERC for Bioengineering Educational Technologies. The developments and resultsof this project are supported by a College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) grant fromthe Department of Education, and it focuses on student retention and development of adaptiveexpertise. This paper describes the CBI curriculum development and its implementation processin the Introduction to Mechanical Engineering course. The CBI instruction was developed andimplemented in the areas of reverse engineering, statics, dynamics, energy (including renewableenergy), and forward engineering. Additionally, the paper describes the initial impact of the CBIcurriculum on the students, including initial assessment results, and the impact on the faculty andthe course. From the initial positive results obtained in this project, it is argued that the CBImaterials and tools developed for this course could be modified and adapted in other introductionto engineering and science courses at other institutions to support their efforts in studentattraction and retention.

Fuentes, A. A., & Vasquez, H., & Freeman, R. A. (2011, June), Development and Implementation of Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Challenge-Based Instruction to Increase Student Retention and Engagement Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17752

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