June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.533.1 - 13.533.15
Enhancement of International Activities in a Large Engineering Curriculum
About one thousand three hundred students enter Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering as a freshman each year. These engineering freshmen complete a 1-year long general engineering (GE) program, conducted by the Department of Engineering Education (EngE), before transferring into one of thirteen engineering majors. This university has taken several initiatives in recent years to promote internationalization of campus. This paper presents summary of various international activities introduced in the GE program during last 3 years and students’ responses are analyzed. In addition, some innovative ideas, aided by latest technology, to enhance global education experiences for engineering students are presented.
1. Introduction: The General Engineering (GE) (also called freshman engineering) program at Virginia Tech is being reformed as a part of a Department-Level Reform (DLR) grant from the NSF. “Engineering Exploration EngE1024,” is a 2-credit first semester course in the GE program. This course, required of all engineering freshmen, is offered by the Department of Engineering Education (EngE). Some of the recent initiatives in EngE1024 include introduction to sustainability conceptsi; use of contemporary issues and skits to instruct engineering ethicsii iii; introduction of international activitiesiv; use of electronic portfolio for instructionv vi; use of multiple models of a problem to instruct different aspects of the course vii, introduction of international content, and use of mechatronics to introduce multi-disciplinary design to engineering freshmenviii. Also, a number of assessment (formative and summative) activities are being implemented in the GE program ix x to evaluate the learning experiences of engineering freshmen.
This paper summarizes the efforts made to bring international content into EngE 1024 for the last 3 years. Global education related issues raised in national publications like The Engineer of 2020 by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) are discussed in EngE1024 lessons. Students are made aware of thought provoking questions raised in The Engineer of 2020: “Do U.S. engineers understand enough culturally, for example, to respond to the needs of the multiple niches in a global market?”, “Can we continue to expect everyone else to speak English?”xi Another follow up report of the NAE includes an article that states the following about the U.S. Engineer of 2020 and beyond: “It is expected that U.S. engineers will be based abroad, will have to travel (physically or virtually) around the world to meet customers, and will have to converse proficiently in more than one language. Flexibility and respect for ways to life different from ours will be critical to professional success.”xii In addition, quotes by national level academicians and CEOs highlighting importance of global education are shared with students. For example: Frank Rhodes, President Emeritus, Cornell University says: “The [New American University] will be international in its orientation and cosmopolitan in its character; study abroad will become a norm.”xiii
Jayaraman, P., & Lohani, V., & Bradley, G., & Griffin, O., & Dooley, J. (2008, June), Enhancement Of An Engineering Curriculum Through International Experiences Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3833
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