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Drexel's Challenge In Its Innovative Freshman Core Curriculum: Continuous Collaboration And Assessment

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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

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.446.1 - 7.446.12



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Paper Authors

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Valarie Arms

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Aly Valentine

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J. Richard Weggel

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Main Menu Session 2793

Drexel's Challenge in its Innovative Freshman Core Curriculum: Continuous Collaboration and Assessment

Valarie M. Arms, J. Richard Weggel, Aly Valentine

Drexel University

Introduction At Drexel University, the College of Engineering institutionalized an innovative program for the first two years in engineering in order to implement some of the new research on learning. The goal was to improve engineering education by focusing on the student's experience. In the process, the radical change in approach required that the faculty model collaborative learning, "to get systemic improvement, we must make use of what is already known about learning itself, about promoting learning, and about institutional change," according to Peter T. Ewell "Approaches in which faculty constructively model the learning process…and approaches that emphasize interpersonal collaboration" are effective." However, frequent feedback on performance must guide not only the learner but the faculty designing and re-designing a dynamic curriculum. The faculty in the Drexel Engineering Curriculum (tDEC), continue to strengthen their learning community, but recognize the task is never finished. The quantitative results presented here are the result of an assessment procedure that has since been modified to streamline its use. In addition, qualitative assessment strategies have been implemented through focus groups convened at the end of the freshman year experience and through analyses of targeted journal assignments.

The freshman design project is the cornerstone of what we now call tDEC and its impact must be validated to justify the effort expended by students and faculty from all the disciplines involved. The Drexel Engineering Curriculum (tDEC) freshman design program involves about 550 students working on 116 teams ranging in size of from 2 to 6 members. Each team has a design project and a technical advisor from the College of Engineering faculty. Since engineering faculty from every department are involved, there is a need for uniformity in grading standards. The assessment forms that are the topic of this report satisfy a portion of this need and insure that the various advisors at least consider the same course objectives in arriving at a grade. Grades are obtained for each deliverable required from the students, the Proposal, Oral Presentation and Final Report.

Assessment Forms Following the 1996-97 academic year, several new assessment instruments were developed for the freshman design component of Drexel’s Engineering Design and Laboratory courses (ED&L I, II & III) and for the design component of the humanities courses, HUM107 and HUM108. The details of how Drexel’s Freshman Design Program is conducted are summarized in Weggel, et al. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ã 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Arms, V., & Valentine, A., & Weggel, J. R. (2002, June), Drexel's Challenge In Its Innovative Freshman Core Curriculum: Continuous Collaboration And Assessment Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10500

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