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Impact Of Vertically Integrated Design Projects On First Year Engineering Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

State of the Art in Freshman Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.685.1 - 9.685.20



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Paper Authors

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Edward Evans

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H. Michael Cheung

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Rex Ramsier

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Francis Broadway

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Sandra Spickard Prettyman

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Helen Qammar

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

Session 1153

Impact of Vertically Integrated Team Design Projects on First Year Engineering Students

Helen K. Qammar1, H. Michael Cheung1, Edward A. Evans1, Sandra Prettyman Spickard2, Francis S. Broadway3, Rex D. Ramsier4 Department of Chemical Engineering1/ Educational Foundations and Leadership2/ Department of Curricular and Instructional Studies3/ Departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering4 The University of Akron Akron, Ohio 44325

Introduction In this paper we present a novel freshman design experience and the resulting enhancement of the first year experience. For the last five years, the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Akron has implemented a Vertically Integrated Team Design Project (VITDP) involving our entire undergraduate student population. VITDP is an engineering design curricular and instructional pilot project for the National Science Foundation-funded Department Level Curriculum Reform (DLCR) at The University of Akron. Teams consisting of freshman through seniors come together with an industrial or faculty mentor to solve an open-ended design problem over a five-week period during the Fall semester. Teams are typically asked to decide whether a proposed engineering project should move into the detailed design phase based on economic, environmental, or safety considerations. Examples of previous projects include the design of a methyl methacrylate process, design modifications to enhance the safety of a polymerization process, and process design for chicken pox vaccine production. For freshman in particular, we seek to introduce them to the field of chemical engineering, prepare them for the breadth of applications needing ChE skills, excite them about continuing in ChE, and build their confidence. These objectives for a freshman course have recently been emphasized in national workshops on curriculum reform1-2.

To help freshmen meet the learning objective, each project is specifically designed to require positive interdependency between the team members thus creating an instructional framework where students learn through teaming rather than group work. An obvious question when using a multi-level student team is whether upper-level students will accept inexperienced freshman as effective partners. In addition, freshman may feel overwhelmed by the terminology, design tasks, and feelings of inadequacy leading to negative learning outcomes when placed in such unknown territory. In this paper we describe the developmental stages of our freshman as well as the need and mechanism for imparting value to the freshmen so that teams cannot succeed without involving them. Instruments used in this study include an engineering attitude survey, pre- and post-tests of project relevant content knowledge, reflective journal and end of “Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Evans, E., & Cheung, H. M., & Ramsier, R., & Broadway, F., & Spickard Prettyman, S., & Qammar, H. (2004, June), Impact Of Vertically Integrated Design Projects On First Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13352

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