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Epics: Meeting Ec 2000 Through Service 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

6.462.1 - 6.462.14



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Paper Authors

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Leah Jamieson

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Edward J. Coyle

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

Session 3461

EPICS: Meeting EC 2000 Through Service-Learning

William C. Oakes, Leah H. Jamieson and Edward J. Coyle

The EPICS Center Schools of Engineering 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. Approximately 300 students are currently enrolled in EPICS at Purdue and they are organized into 20 project teams. . With its emphasis on start-to-finish design of significant projects that will be deployed by the community customers, EPICS addresses many of the program outcomes mandated for ABET accreditation. This paper describes the procedures and documentation that have been developed to enhance and evaluate the students' abilities to: function on multidisciplinary teams; communicate effectively; and understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.


Undergraduate students in engineering face a future in which they will need more than just a solid technical background [1,2,3]. 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 backgrounds to achieve these goals. They thus need educational experiences that can help them develop these skills.

Community service agencies face a future in which they must rely to a great extent upon technology for the delivery, coordination, accounting, and improvement of the services they provide. They often possess neither the expertise to use nor the budget to design and acquire a technological solution that is suited to their mission. They thus need the help of people with strong technical backgrounds.

Service learning has been shown to be an effective means of addressing the needs of engineering curricula and the community [4]. Engineering, however, has lagged behind many other disciplines in the integration of service learning into the curriculum [5]. Recent examples of engineering service learning include projects integrated into freshman-level introductory courses [5, 6], capstone senior design courses [7] and multidisciplinary approaches [8]. Other initiatives have sought to integrate the co-curricular activities of student organizations with engineering service learning [9].

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

Jamieson, L., & Coyle, E. J., & Oakes, W. (2001, June), Epics: Meeting Ec 2000 Through Service Learning Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9228

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