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Engineering Personified: An Application Of The One Minute Engineer

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

FPD4 - Teaching Methods for First Year Students

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.518.1 - 13.518.18



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Paper Authors


John K. Estell Ohio Northern University

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John K. Estell is Chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department, and Professor of Computer Engineering and Computer Science, at Ohio Northern University. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His areas of research include simplifying the outcomes assessment process, user interface design, and the pedagogical aspects of writing computer games. Dr. Estell is a Senior Member of IEEE, and a member of ACM, ASEE, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon.

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Laurie Laird Ohio Northern University

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Laurie K. Laird is the Director of Corporate and Alumni Relations and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at ONU. She received a masters degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. At ONU, she teaches primarily freshman engineering courses. In addition to freshman programs, one of her areas of interest includes outreach to K-12 students. Prior to teaching, she served as a design engineer for GE Aviation.

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John-David Yoder Ohio Northern University

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John-David Yoder is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at ONU, and serves as Chair. His Doctorate is from the University of Notre Dame. Research interests include education, controls, robotics, and information processing. Prior to teaching, he ran a small consulting and R&D company and served as proposal engineering supervisor for GROB Systems, Inc.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Engineering Personified: An Application of the One Minute Engineer

1. Introduction

In the typical freshman engineering curriculum, instructors often talk about works of engineering such as bridges and automobiles, but not of the engineers that designed them. Discussion focuses on the science and mathematics behind such works, but not on the ideas and events that motivated their designers. One of the unfortunate consequences of such omissions is a disconnect in the minds of many students between their perception of what they currently are and what they aspire to be professionally.

At the First Year Engineering Workshop entitled “Dialogue II on Engineering Education: the Role of the First Year,” held in July 2007 at the University of Notre Dame, David Billington, Sr., made the argument for the need to humanize engineering. In his presentation, he opined that entering students relate more to historical examples than to abstract principles. Among the points raised were that students should study outstanding engineers because the human element of engineering is missing from their classes; that ideas and personalities are part of engineering; and that students are naturally attracted to the best works of a field of study. Moreover, the field of engineering has transformed American society into a technological powerhouse, and future engineers need to understand how this happened. Simply put, Billington makes the claim that engineering needs to be somehow personified in the classroom so that the contributions made by those in the past and present are made known to students, allowing them to envision the possible contributions that they can make as engineers in the future.

2. Background

Previous ASEE Conferences have featured papers on the One Minute Engineer (OME), where students give short individual presentations on student-selected, engineering-related topics in areas such as devices, biographies, vocabulary, or current events. The OME is designed to be implemented with minimal sacrifice of class time, as only one to three short presentations are given each day. In a paper by Jaeger and Bilén1, the development of the OME as a pedagogical tool is discussed along with its use at their institutions. The OME was initially introduced at Northeastern University as the Demo Minute in the fall of 2003 and 2004 in an effort to help students improve their public speaking skills. Topics used for the Demo Minute included demonstration of a device, word of the day and newsworthy/current events. With positive response from students at Northeastern and interest from a faculty member at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), the OME was introduced in the spring of 2004 in an Introduction to Engineering Design course at Penn State. Changes from its development at Northeastern included the addition of a category, biography, and the use of a Likert-type survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the tool. At Penn State, 93% of students agreed or strongly agreed that they felt more aware of engineering issues following completion of the OME and more than 82% felt the OME was useful and interesting.

Estell, J. K., & Laird, L., & Yoder, J. (2008, June), Engineering Personified: An Application Of The One Minute Engineer Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3155

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