June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.593.1 - 10.593.16
Evaluating the Outcomes of a Service-Learning Based Course in an Engineering Education Program: Preliminary Results of the Assessment of the Engineering Projects in Community Service - EPICS.
Jason C. Immekus, Susan J. Maller, Sara Tracy, & William C. Oakes Purdue University
Abstract Design courses embedded in service-learning are rapidly emerging within the curricula of many engineering programs. The learning outcomes service-learning courses seek to promote are well aligned with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology criteria 2000 (EC 2000)1. The Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program integrates engineering design with meeting the needs of the local community through a multi-disciplinary service-learning curricular structure. The EPICS courses can be counted for a wide range of courses in several disciplines, including capstone design in electrical and computer engineering and computer science. The approaches of EPICS to conceptualize and measure specific professional skills for program evaluation purposes are discussed. These include: social- responsibility, awareness of ethical issues, teamwork, and communication competence. Specifically, the theoretical framework used for scale construction, preliminary results, and evidence of the scales’ psychometric properties are provided. The aim of this paper is to provide information regarding the use of self-report measures to assess program outcomes.
1. Introduction Service-learning is the focus of considerable research and is a feature within many engineering programs. Within engineering education, design courses embedded in service- learning provide a way to promote students’ development of technical and professional skills for solving applied problems. The ability to create learning environments for engineering students to apply mathematical and scientific principles when solving applied problems is critical for preparing students for careers in engineering2. The need for engineering programs to produce students proficient in these skills upon graduation is reflected in ABET EC 2000. Service- learning courses may provide engineering programs one way to promote program, institution, and accreditation outcomes.
Service-learning seeks to promote student learning in the form of experiential education. Jaccoby and Associates3 define service-learning as, “a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development…” (p. 5). Collectively, definitions of service-learning agree that it “joins two complex concepts: community action, the ‘service,’ and efforts to learn from that action and connect what is learned to existing knowledge, the ‘learning’” (p. 2)4. Key factors of service-learning include reflection
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