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Engineering Boot Camp: A Broadly Based Online Summer Bridge Program for Engineering Freshmen

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 4A: Retention Programs and Strategies

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Meg Harkins University of North Carolina - Charlotte

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Meg Harkins is a faculty member, freshman engineering advisor and director of the Engineering Freshman Learning Community at University of North Carolina Charlotte's William States Lee College of Engineering. She teaches Introduction to Engineering Practices and Principles and Freshman Engineering LC Seminar. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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This paper describes an evidence-based practice. The primary objective of the Engineering Online Boot Camp is to increase retention and success of first year engineering students. The students accepted into the engineering program typically were very successful in high school. Many falsely believe the same habits that led to high school success will lead to college success. They are not aware of nature of challenges ahead of them. In addition to the new environment most are simultaneously adapting to, and it may add up to more instability than most have experienced in their young lives. Those not swift to recognize and adapt to the different habits and tools needed may perform poorly in classes and doubt their academic goals, leading to low first semester GPAs and low retention. To help address these problems, the Engineering Online Boot Camp program is designed to work on the following areas: 1) Grit: the importance of perseverance 2) Math readiness 3) Spatial visualization 4) Adjusting to Campus Life 5) Academic Expectations 6) Confirming your major 7) Resources 8) Interaction Few students need all areas addressed, but most students have needs in two or more areas. The program is designed to be inexpensive to run and require low maintenance with an enrollment of 300-400 students each summer. The students are enrolled in the program during Summer Orientation and urged to complete it on a voluntary basis during the summer. Results from the first two years look promising.

Harkins, M. (2016, June), Engineering Boot Camp: A Broadly Based Online Summer Bridge Program for Engineering Freshmen Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26623

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