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Foundations Of Engineering A First Year Course

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.221.1 - 1.221.7



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Paper Authors

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Harry Knickle

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

Session 2653


Harry Knickle University of Rhode Island


The University of Rhode Island College of Engineering has introduced a common freshman course after doing without one for more than twenty years. In addition to trying to help students find out about engineering, other key issues were retention, recruitment and diversity. This freshman course also allowed direct contact of freshman with faculty and with some of the important linkages that engineering students make during their studies. These communications include informal connections to the student chapters of the professional engineering societies, our COOP and internship programs, S WE, NSBE, ROTC and others. Another important informal contact is with upper level undergraduates and with graduate students who help mentor in the course.

The academic goals of the course include introducing them to effective hands-on experiences with the computer, development of communication skills, how to think about engineering design, and the foundations of manufacturing. These foundations include teaming, communication, vocabulary, a concept of quality, economics, design, ethics, and the environment. Some other concepts are integrated into the course such as design for manufacture, reverse engineering and new products.

All freshman engineering students at the University of Rhode Island enrolled in the first semester one credit module. Most of the engineering students will take the second semester course of two credits. Faculty from every department have volunteered to teach this course and work together in a high performance team. The team plans the course, develops the assignments, teaches the course and provides feedback and revision of the course. Undergraduate and graduate mentors help in the computer laboratory.

Last year we taught a pilot scale course involving three credits that required too much from the students, faculty and from other resources such as lab space. This year the major change is to teach one credit in 7 sections by six faculty in the first semester followed by a two credit course in the second semester. Less laboratory resources are required at any one time and the work is spread over two semesters. Each faculty member stays with the students for the whole semester.

The course is broken down into modules for easy sharing with other Academy Schools. An evaluation is given at the beginning and end of each course. These results will be presented at the meeting. The students are highly motivated and have been making friends and bonding in these courses. We hope this will result in increased retention.

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Knickle, H. (1996, June), Foundations Of Engineering A First Year Course Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6062

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