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Freshman Engineering Student Perceptions On Global Warming

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

FPD7 - Global Warming & Sustainability for First-Year Students

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.625.1 - 13.625.11



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Paper Authors


Blair Rowley Wright State University

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BLAIR A. ROWLEY, Ph.D., P.E. is a Professor of Biomedical, Industrial, and Human Factors Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, a Professor of Geriatrics in the Boonshoft School of Medicine, and Director of the Freshman Engineering and Computer Science Program. He holds the Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, Columbia and is a PE. He has been in academia since 1970. Among his many activities he served as the Chair of the ASEE/BMD 1987-1988 and is a reviewer for NSF. His research focuses on rehabilitation engineering and teaching.

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Kumar Yelamarthi Central Michigan University

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KUMAR YELAMARTHI, M.S. is currently a Ph.D. student, and holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Wright State University. He serves as the lead Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Freshman Engineering and Computer Science Program. He was honored as the most outstanding Graduate Student in 2004, most outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in 2005, and also has been nominated for excellence in teaching awards several times. He is currently an author on over fifteen publications. His research focus is low-power VLSI methodologies, and engineering education.

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Thomas Bazzoli Wright State University

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THOMAS L. BAZZOLI, M.S. is Assistant Dean for Fiscal Affairs and Research. He holds the MS in Nuclear Science and Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. During his Air Force career he directed diverse research programs in modeling and testing of system performance, compositional mapping of submicron materials and machine translation of text. He was instrumental in establishing the college’s freshman program.

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

Freshman Engineering Student Perceptions on Global Warming


Managing the problems that global warming is being forecast to cause requires the educated attention of many disciplines. One of these has to be engineering, as engineers are trained in the practical application of science and technology to meet human needs. This paper presents part of our efforts to enlighten our freshman engineering students on these problems. Modifications to an existing freshman course are briefly described that involve global warming issues, with the primary focus of the paper being on the students’ perceptions.

A pre-course instrument with 20 questions was used to obtain students’ perceptions on the importance of global warming as a problem, if they can have an impact, and if anything can really be done about it. The same instrument was given at the end of the course to help measure the impact of the course content that focused on global warming. The paper includes the perception instrument and comparison of results from the pre and post surveys.


The freshman common text used at our university for the 2007-08 academic year is the, “An Inconvenient Truth” authored by the former Vice President Al Gore. Using this book presented us a unique opportunity, as the text focus in the area of world wide interest, global warming, that is going to require careful thought and input from the engineering community. This is also the first time a common text was adapted to our freshman engineering program at our university. Using the text as a starting point, we modified our EGR 190: Fundamentals of Engineering and Computer Science course1 by changing two hours of lecture and four hours of laboratories to a focus on two areas of interest to engineers that involved global warming. The lectures focused on alternative energies and alternative fuels and the labs focused on solar and wind energy sources, and hydrogen fuel cells. In addition, the length of the lectures was increased by a half hour. This additional time was used to present the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth” and its update over a four week period, and provided discussion time on global warming. At the beginning and end of the course the students answered a global warming perception instrument. This paper focuses on the results obtained from this perception instrument.


Rowley, B., & Yelamarthi, K., & Bazzoli, T. (2008, June), Freshman Engineering Student Perceptions On Global Warming Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3479

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