June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering
23.570.1 - 23.570.12
Experiential Learning in the Civil Engineering Curriculum: Collaborations between Community Colleges, Research I Universities and National LaboratoriesThe next generation of engineering professionals must be prepared to solve complex andmultidisciplinary problems in a sustainable and global context. Universities of the future call fora transformation of higher education, creating an institution that is committed to excellence,access and impact where students and faculty link to local and regional issues and undertakeapplied sustainability challenges that impact the social, environmental, and economic evolutionof the geographic locale. However, according to a survey at Arizona State University, manyuniversity-educated engineers do not feel prepared to address these challenges. Communitycollege-educated engineers, whose curriculum traditionally focuses on engineeringapplication, overwhelmingly agree. Students in traditional civil engineering classes grasp theimportance of communication, but don’t feel they get enough experience during theircourses. Students feel a lack of real world experiences is a critical deficiency in theireducation. Faculty from two- and four-year institutions and researchers atnational laboratories are piloting curriculum that brings contextualized experience into theclassroom, allowing students at both institutions to deepen their "real-world understanding"while simultaneously informing faculty research in sustainability.This paper examines the creation of resource and module sets that make it easy for faculty toincorporate challenges and experiential learning into higher education classrooms, with the aimof attracting and retaining a talented and diverse set of students who are more prepared to tacklethe engineering challenges of a global economy. Arizona State University faculty collaborationwith Mesa Community College faculty and Lawrence Berkley National Laboratoryresearchers collaboration with Laney College faculty enabled the development of learningmodules for incorporation into courses where research themes and/or active learning are nottypically present at either the university or community college setting. The learningmodules employ experiential learning through team-based activities in accordance withrecommendations of the National Research Council (NRC) pertaining to improving education inscience, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Many types ofexperiential learning were employed within the learning modules. The learning modules tested inthis paper integrate service learning, active learning, and project-based learning. As a result,traditional university and community college engineering courses were updated with a dynamicmix of experiential learning and hands-on laboratory experiments that are infused with real-world interactions. The outcome of this experiential learning fusion was assessed via formativeand summative student surveys to evaluate students' interest and perceptions of sustainability andtheir engagement in their learning environment. The effectiveness of the learning modules inachieving learning objectives was assessed via analysis of students' work. Data was statisticallyanalyzed to determine whether the institutionalization plan was successful acrosscampuses. Data informing refinement of the learning modules for any additional improvementswill enable future scale-up with new faculty members for year two of the experiential learninginitiative to further addresses the growing challenges of the current curriculums.
Antaya, C. L., & Parrish, K., & Adams, E. A., & Landis, A. E. (2013, June), Experiential Learning in the Civil Engineering Curriculum: Collaborations between Community Colleges, Research I Universities and National Laboratories Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19584
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