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ECE Curriculum Improvement to Incorporate Global Learning

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

ECE Curriculum Improvement

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.486.1 - 25.486.12



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Paper Authors


Phillip A. Mlsna Northern Arizona University

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Phillip Mlsna is currently an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Northern Arizona University. His primary research interests are in image processing, computer vision, engineering education, and academic ethics. He has extensive experience as a Computer Hardware Engineer at Hewlett-Packard.

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Niranjan Venkatraman Northern Arizona University

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Niranjan Venkatraman obtained his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville, in 2004, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz.. His areas of interest are systems and control, global learning, and engineering pedagogy.

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Sheryl L. Howard Northern Arizona University

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ECE Curriculum Improvement to Incorporate Global Learning  Our university is currently encouraging a wide variety of academic programs toparticipate in a Global Learning Initiative (GLI), which aims to infuse globalengagement, environmental sustainability, and diversity education into our undergraduatecourses and our students’ experience. These goals reflect the reality that our graduatesmust be prepared to serve in a worldwide marketplace regarding customers, companies,colleagues, and resources. They must select and use materials efficiently and sustainablyto limit adverse environmental impact. In addition, they must be sensitive to the culturalnorms and local constraints that are sometimes quite different from their own. Under thisGLI, we have scrutinized our electrical and computer engineering (ECE) curriculum,planned appropriate changes in detail, and are currently implementing these changes.Of course, the ABET outcomes (a) through (k) already provide significant structure andconstraint to the curriculum of any ABET-accredited ECE program. Our primarychallenge has been to maintain that structure while greatly enhancing aspects that relateto the GLI goals, incorporating assessment methods to measure student progress towardthese goals, and simultaneously minimizing the additional work required. Since thedesired GLI outcomes largely mesh with several of the ABET outcomes, we found thatmuch could be accomplished by simply improving our existing assessment process inthose areas. By slight augmentation of a couple of specific ABET outcomes and addingone new GLI-specific outcome, good coverage of the GLI goals would be obtained andthe ABET-related assessment process would be strengthened.We evaluated our existing curriculum to determine the degree to which each coursealready met the GLI-related learning outcomes in terms of both content and assessment.In some cases, we decided to make existing GLI-related content more visible in syllabi.Other cases required the addition of GLI content where weakness was identified.Assessment plans for GLI outcomes were then developed on a course-by-course basis,producing a set of content material and assessment activities that would be required of thecourse instructors. This seemingly daunting set of tasks is actually fairly innocuousbecause most were already informally in place; it was often only necessary to formallydocument them.Although many of our courses address some aspects of GLI material to a moderateextent, we believe students would benefit significantly from learning the stories andcontext behind a number of key technological developments throughout history. Ouruniversity does not currently offer a course in history of science or technology. We arecurrently developing such a course to meet several GLI-related outcomes as well as toincrease focus on other ABET outcomes. This new course will be required of our ECEstudents and has potential for other engineering and science majors, also. By displacing ageneral liberal studies course, the new course will not increase time or credit hoursneeded for graduation.The final paper will include specific details of our augmented outcomes, affected courses,and assessment plan.

Mlsna, P. A., & Venkatraman, N., & Howard, S. L. (2012, June), ECE Curriculum Improvement to Incorporate Global Learning Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21244

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