June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.799.1 - 26.799.17
From Catchall to Clarity: Revising a FirstYear, Multidisciplinary Introductory Course The importance of effective firstyear experiences has been identified as a high impact educational practice by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Universities have developed a variety of firstyear experiences ranging anywhere from a single course specifically taken in the major itself, to firstyear programs offered across disciplines or even in separate firstyear colleges / programs, to even more involved practices such as livelearn communities. Kuh (2008) emphasizes the most influential points of a firstyear experience include a “strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, [and] collaborative learning.” When the “Introduction to the Engineering Profession” course was originally developed in 2006 at XXXX, it was designed to provide an overview of the different programs in the college to allow students to have a better understanding of the various majors as well as opportunities within the college and after graduation. Over the last decade the course continued to have information added to the curriculum based on topics identified by faculty as necessary skills for engineering majors. These include topics such as unit conversions, communication skills, resume building, teamwork, and presentations by current students and individuals currently working in industry. Since topics were added over a broad span of time, each new concept was treated more as a module, rather than being fully integrated into the course, resulting in a catchall type course with little topic overlap from week to week. In addition, it was rare for material to be removed as new topics were added, resulting in a course with a workload level above what should reasonably be expected of the onecredit hour designation. The authors recognized this concern and chose to undertake a revision of the course with the primary goal to create a onecredit hour learnercentered course with welldeveloped course objectives. Additionally, emphasis was placed on clearly tying all activities to an overarching design project, balancing course expectations with the limited credit hours, providing opportunities to discuss topics within and across the disciplines and optimizing the single 75 minute a week lesson time. What developed was a course with an emphasis on the development of information literacy, teamwork, and communication skills, focusing on engineering innovations related to the Grand Challenges. This paper will present the development of course expectations and ties to existing best practices, the revised course layout, student assessment and feedback of the initial offering, and instructor perspectives of the revised course.
Kunberger, T., & Geiger, C. (2015, June), From Catch-all to Clarity: Revising a First-year, Multidisciplinary Introductory Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24136
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