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Epics: A Model Of Service Learning In An Engineering Curriculum

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.281.1 - 5.281.14



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Paper Authors

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William C. Oakes

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Leah H Jamieson

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Edward Coyle

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

Session 3630

EPICS: A Model of Service-Learning in an Engineering Curriculum William C. Oakes, Edward J. Coyle and Leah H. Jamieson

Purdue University


Engineering Projects in Community Service — EPICS — is a service-learning program that was initiated at Purdue University in the Fall of 1995. Under this program, undergraduate students in engineering earn academic credit for long-term team projects that solve technology based problems for local community service organizations. The program has grown to include 20 project teams with approximately 250 students participating during the 1999 academic year.

Each EPICS project team consists of ten to fifteen students. The teams are interdisciplinary including students from Electrical, Computer, Mechanical, Civil, Aerospace, Industrial and Materials Engineering as well as from Computer Science, Chemistry, Sociology, Nursing, Visual Design, English and Education. The teams are vertically integrated - each is a mix of freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors - and a student can participate in a project for up to three and a half years. The continuity provided by this structure allows projects to last for many years. Projects of significant size and impact are thus possible.

The goals of the EPICS program include: providing students with multi-year, team-based, design and development experience; teaching students, by direct experience, how to interact with each other and with customers to specify, design, develop and deploy systems that solve real problems; and showing engineering students how their expertise can benefit even the most disadvantaged members of their community.

A national EPICS program is being initiated to expand this highly successful service learning model. Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin and the University of Notre Dame will partner with the existing program at Purdue University to form local teams at their respective institutions as well as to network teams of students at the different institutions. These networked teams will be able to collaborate on issues at a regional or national scale. Introduction Undergraduate students in engineering face a future in which they will need more than just a solid technical background. In setting the goals for any system they are asked to design, they will be expected to interact effectively with people of widely varying social and educational backgrounds. They will then be expected to work with people of many different technical

Oakes, W. C., & Jamieson, L. H., & Coyle, E. (2000, June), Epics: A Model Of Service Learning In An Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8361

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