June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.625.1 - 13.625.11
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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