San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.530.1 - 25.530.18
Engaging Freshman in Team Based Engineering ProjectsResearch demonstrates that early involvement in engineering projects during a student’sfreshman year increases his / her interest, excitement, and retention in engineering. To meet theneed for retaining engineering students, this large public university initiated a team basedFreshman Engineering Project Program, in collaboration with community sponsors.For the 2011-12 programs, the three project sponsors are 1) NASA and the State Space GrantConsortium, 2) The City Public Works Department, and 3) the City Children’s Museum. Thesepartners have a genuine need for student’s ideas and insights, and the young aspiring engineersare working on hands-on engineering design projects. Research shows that establishing theseprofessional interactions positively influences student’s retention in engineering fields.The project teams are composed of five students, with the exception of one team of four students.The students represent a diverse array of engineering backgrounds; there are at least threedifferent majors present in each team. The projects are administered on a voluntary basis.Students successfully meeting the program requirements at the end of each semester receive acash incentive of $100.00. The freshman engineering projects at this University differ frommany other national programs (e.g. EPICS) in that students do not receive course credit. Rather,the selling points of the projects for students include gaining valuable experience involvingengineering design, processional engineering groups, and team-based problem solving.Groups are lead by a Team Leader, who is elected among the freshman members. Technicalguidance is provided by the Engineering Mentor and Project Sponsors. Engineering mentors areupper class or graduate level engineering students who exhibit leadership qualities in engineeringeducation. Project Sponsors are practicing, professional engineers, who assist teams with designand development.Freshman students are instructed on the use of computer software for engineering design andproblem solving. Software applications include the use of Solid Works for modeling anInternational Space Station coffee adaptor system, ARC GIS for cost analysis of the Cityrecycling program, and Auto CAD design of a municipal Green Building. The deliverables ofthe projects include 1) a final report for the Project Sponsor, complete with engineering designs,2) a professional presentation to the Sponsor at the end of each semester, and 3) a built prototypeof the project design, if applicable.The effects of the Freshman Engineering Projects on first-year education and retention will beassessed at the end of the spring semester, 2012. Online surveys will be administered to all 29students, pending IRB approval. Five focus groups, one for each team, will also be used toassess the impact of the program. A final report on program results and lessons learned will beshared with the ASEE First-year Programs Division, to share with the engineering educationcommunity both challenges and lessons learned with this unique approach.
Bodnar, L. J., & Lagoudas, M. Z., & Hodge, J. Q., & Smith, T. A., & Orozco, J. A., & Corso, J. G., & Sanchez, C. R., & Freise, J. K., & Ringler, H., & Cortes, I. (2012, June), Engaging Freshman in Team Based Engineering Projects Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21288
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015