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Hands-on, Discovery, Critical Thinking, and Freshman Engineering

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Research Projects, Course Development, and Industry Issues

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.688.1 - 25.688.9



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Paper Authors

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John W Pritchard Iowa State University


Mani Mina Iowa State University

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Mani Mina has been with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University since 2001. He has extensive industrial and academic experience. His current research interests include physical layer systems, measurements and testing, applied electromagnetism, optical networking, magneto-optical switching, nondestructive testing and evaluation, and innovative methods of teaching technology. He is also one of the leading educators in the area of technological literacy to non-engineering students. He has been a recipient of several teaching and research awards. He is an active member of ASEE and IEEE. He is also an active member of IEEE Education, Magnetic, and Ethics Societies.

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Hands-on, discovery, critical thinking, and freshman engineering A systems level approach to learning and discoveryOne of the most difficult tasks when teaching freshman engineering classes is to induce a paradigm shiftfrom the high school experience to the adjustment of the open, dynamic, exciting, and ever growinguniversity environment. In these classes, we also need to train students to be advanced in criticalthinking, engineering fundamentals, basics of engineering principle and design, computer programming,and hands-on laboratories. All of the above must be presented in a context that is not over whelming,and not too threatening. All of that will help students be ready for the years to come in the engineeringdiscipline. Much effort has been put into designing a practical and conceptual approach on what, why,and how to do the freshman engineering classes to be more productive and effective. The true systemslevel approach needs to be included in all aspects of the class. The class and the approach should showenough repetition, creative feedbacks, and interesting subjects to engage students.This paper presents a framework whose unique systems level, critical thinking, and hands-on discoverymethodologies that suit students of the current generation. The paper introduces and discusses some ofthe successful implementations versus some of the traditional goals. The paper will also provide somepractical and key questions regarding the goals of the freshman engineering class in the engineeringprograms.

Pritchard, J. W., & Mina, M. (2012, June), Hands-on, Discovery, Critical Thinking, and Freshman Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21445

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