June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.705.1 - 26.705.16
Understanding Engineering Processes and Practices in a FirstYear Course Cornerstone or firstyear courses are designed to excite students about engineering and increase retention. Many of these courses include various types of projects that last anywhere from one class session to the entire term. While most of these courses are designed to engage students and introduce them to engineering, these projects also provide students experience in the processes and practices of solving an engineering problem and begin building a foundation of problem solving skills. Previous studies of firstyear students have examined how students learn the engineering design process by completing a semesterlong, client based design project (Saterbak & Volz, 2012; Saterbak & Volz, 2014) and how employing a designbuildtestcompete structure to the course affects course grades (Olsen & Washabaugh, 2011). Our own previous work examining different illstructured projects in a firstyear course found during inclass projects completed with short time constraints, students spend a significant portion of their time making and building while very little time brainstorming and clearly defining the problem (citation blinded, 2014). Yet for longer projects completed at home, students spend a much more significant portion of development brainstorming ideas as well as making and iterating on their designs (citation blinded, 2014). Building on this work, here we examine firstyear students working on usercentered design projects as part of their cornerstone courses. The analysis will leverage mixedmethods to examine video data for the students engaging in engineering processes and practices. A list of processes and practices, constructed through literature reviews and revised by engineering professors, will be used to identify disciplinespecific skills and practices students use as they design. Preliminary results show students discuss the perspectives of their clients and set constraints based on those clients’ perceived needs and desires. However, there is an observable tension between producing a product within these constraints and the firstyear students existing engineering skillset; within this conflict arises a dynamic iteration of design choices throughout the implementation process. Based on this analysis and understanding the impact of the structure of these assignments on students’ engineering practices, this paper will add to the growing body of literature on firstyear engineering course design. The resulting discussion will also inform the design of future activities for firstyear cornerstone courses. References Saterbak, A. & T. Volz (2012) Assessing Design Capabilities Following a ClientBased Freshman Design Course. Proceedings of the 4th First Year Engineering Experience Conference. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Saterbak, A. & T. Volz (2014) Assessing Knowledge and Application of the Design Process. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Indianapolis, IN. Olsen, L. & P. Washabaugh (2011) Initial Impact of a FirstYear DesignBuildTestCompete Course. Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Vancouver, Canada.
Swenson, J. E. S., & Schnedeker, M. H., & Coppola, S. M., & Madariaga, L. A. (2015, June), Examining the Influence of Ill- and Well-defined Problems in a First-Year Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24042
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