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Full Paper: Effects of a Computational-Based First-Year Engineering Course on Student Preparation

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2020 First-Year Engineering Experience


East Lansing, Michigan

Publication Date

July 26, 2020

Start Date

July 26, 2020

End Date

July 28, 2020

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Paper Authors


Andrew Assadollahi, P.E. Christian Brothers University

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Dr. Assadollahi is a native Memphian and a 2005 graduate of Christian Brothers High School. Dr. Assadollahi earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structural engineering from Christian Brothers University in 2009. He also earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Christian Brothers University in 2009, concentrating in applied differential equations. He earned a M.S. in Civil Engineering from The University of Memphis in 2010 with a concentration in structural seismic engineering. Dr. Assadollahi completed his Ph.D. in Engineering from The University of Memphis with a concentration in geo-structures in 2013. He currently an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Christian Brothers University. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Tennessee.

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Kyle Raburn

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This full paper presents research on the effects of a computational-based first-year engineering course on student preparation. In engineering education, there is significant discussion on what first year introduction content is most appropriate and useful for students in their academic and professional careers. In addition, how that content should be delivered is also of interest. Some engineering programs provide a conceptual framework of content to be delivered to new students. Other engineering programs may provide an interface platform for students to connect with practicing professionals to learn about their future careers. Some programs provide content that is computational-based, which exposes first year students to relevant calculations that are used in later courses. Additionally, there are some programs that incorporate elements of all three of these sets of content. If the computational-based content has a more direct relation to the engineering profession and later engineering courses, students would be exposed to basic concepts of future courses and have an early understanding of these relevant engineering topics. This research aims to present data which shows the effects that a computational-based first-year engineering course can have on student preparation for later engineering courses. This research is based on four years of data collection regarding how the computational-based spring semester first year course CE 113 (Civil Engineering Analysis) has impacted student performance in Physics 1, Statics, and Mechanics of Materials. This research also provides an outline for how other engineering programs can develop their own unique first-year computational-based courses that can have a positive impact on students’ performance in later engineering courses.

Assadollahi, P.E., A., & Raburn, K. (2020, July), Full Paper: Effects of a Computational-Based First-Year Engineering Course on Student Preparation Paper presented at 2020 First-Year Engineering Experience, East Lansing, Michigan.

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