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Enhancement Of An Introductory Computing Course With Experiential And Cooperative Learning

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.448.1 - 6.448.6



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Paper Authors

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Paul Marquard

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Bruce R. Dewey

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Sally Steadman

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Raymond Jacquot

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

Session 3553

Enhancement of an Introductory Computing Course with Experiential and Cooperative Learning

Sally Steadman, Bruce R. Dewey, Raymond G. Jacquot / Paul J. Marquard University of Wyoming / Casper College


For the past seventeen years the University of Wyoming College of Engineering has had a freshman level computing and problem solving course in which freshmen were introduced problem solving strategies and computing to support those strategies. Several years ago it was observed that interest in the course could be increased if some physically based exercises could be introduced in the laboratory to give hands-on work done in the cooperative learning setting. The work reported here is the initial efforts toward implementation of those concepts.

1. Introduction

In addition to the usual calculus, chemistry, and English, first-year engineering students traditionally take an engineering course that focuses on technical subjects. For most of the last century, this first-year engineering course involved graphics, descriptive geometry and slide rule operation. Over the last two or three decades, graphics courses have largely been replaced by an offering that involves computing; however, there is no standard course content.

Goals for a first engineering course have been the subject of much discourse. Common themes for a first year course include aspects of appreciating engineering, participating in design projects, learning engineering problem-solving methodology, developing skill in computer programming, becoming familiar with various computer applications, and fostering teamwork in engineering contexts.

Several driving forces are responsible for these themes. NSF Engineering Coalitions1 have sought to implement a new engineering paradigm characterized by active, project based learning; horizontal and vertical integration of subject matter; and the introduction of mathematical and scientific concepts in the context of application. Multiple reports2, 3, 4 have recommended direct experience with the methods and processes of inquiry and with multidisciplinary curricula combined with effective pedagogical practices such as collaborative, active learning accounting for the varied learning styles of students.

New ABET accreditation criteria5 identify student characteristics or attributes that institutions must address. Among the criteria are the abilities to design and conduct experiments as well as to interpret the data, to function on multidisciplinary teams, to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems, and a knowledge of and skill in the use of modern engineering tools.

Following national trends, we are enhancing our first-year introduction to computing and problem-solving course with experiential (hands-on) and cooperative components. Aided by

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Marquard, P., & Dewey, B. R., & Steadman, S., & Jacquot, R. (2001, June), Enhancement Of An Introductory Computing Course With Experiential And Cooperative Learning Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9212

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