June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.602.1 - 12.602.14
Enabling Curricular Integration through Multi-Course Assessment
In 1991, ABET was faced with a major challenge of transforming from a rigid set of accreditation criteria to evaluation criteria based on constituency focus, continuous program improvement, and outcomes in student learning.1 To accomplish this change, ABET underwent a massive reformation process. In 1997, as a result of this process, ABET adopted Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2000), which focused on program evaluation based on what is learned rather than what is taught. At the core was a continuous improvement process driven by the specific and unique missions and goals of individual institutions and programs. Questions remain in the minds of most engineering faculty and administrators as to whether the requirements of the “new” criteria are accomplishing their ultimate purpose. Early evidence2 suggests that they are; students are now better prepared for engineering careers than they were ten years ago.
The ABET outcomes-based criteria were also instituted to give engineering programs the freedom to exercise innovation in curriculum design, rather than be confined by rigid criteria. This paper offers preliminary evidence that the regular assessment of the ABET- designated outcomes has opened the eyes of our faculty to issues in student learning that may not have been considered before. While initial assessment was conducted at the disciplinary course level, improvement actions have been more far-reaching including non-trivial course and program improvements, interdepartmental faculty collaboration, redesign of course content, and renewal of faculty interest in improved classroom pedagogy. This paper reports on the assessment-based approaches used to implement curricular change and the benefits that have resulted to date. In a broader sense, this paper proposes a model process by which faculty in service courses and program faculty may be encouraged to collaborate in establishing sound links between the content of service and disciplinary courses. In this paper, our emphasis is on the smooth integration of math and computational tools throughout our curriculum. The approach used may also be applied in integrating other “basic” skills (e.g., writing, statistics, biology, chemistry) downstream into disciplinary curricula. The theoretical basis for the suggested changes is also presented.
Assessment as the Foundation
The engineering programs at our institution have been conducting outcomes-based assessment since before the first “EC2000” visit conducted here in 1998. Although the evaluation and assessment processes themselves have been redesigned and simplified, assessment has become a regular and fairly accepted role for the faculty members who teach our undergraduate courses. As part of the regular assessment cycle, it has been encouraging and mildly surprising that assessment of our chemical engineering program outcomes has resulted in groundwork for curricular improvements involving interdepartmental faculty in multiple courses.
Briedis, D., & Urban-Lurain, M., & Ofoli, R., & Miller, D., & Sticklen, J. (2007, June), Enabling Curricular Integration Through Multi Course Assessment Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2640
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