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Implementation And Assessment Of Case Studies In The Engineering Curriculum

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

15.672.1 - 15.672.16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/15999

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Norb Delatte Cleveland State University

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Patricia Ralston University of Louisville

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Matthew Roberts University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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Pamalee Brady California Polytechnic State University

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Manoochehr Zoghi Cal State Fresno

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D. Joseph Hagerty University of Louisville

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Xiong Yu Case Western Reserve University

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

Implementation and Assessment of Failure Case Studies in the Engineering Curriculum: Work in Progress

Abstract: The history of the development of practice in many engineering disciplines is, in large part, the story of failures, both imminent and actual, and of the changes to designs, standards and procedures made as the result of timely interventions or forensic analyses. In addition to technical issues, concepts such as professional and ethical responsibility are highlighted by failure cases. Pilot studies have been carried out over several semesters to assess the use of failure case studies in civil engineering and engineering mechanics courses at Cleveland State University under an earlier NSF project. Student learning has been assessed through surveys as well as focus groups, led by researchers from the Cleveland State University College of Education and Human Services. Students were asked specifically about the technical lessons learned, as well as their response to the case studies. Case study questions were included on homework assignments and examinations. Survey questions linked student achievement to learning outcomes. The focus groups identified additional benefits to the use of case studies. Students observed that the cases helped build engineering identity, and provided historical understanding. The cases made the technical information relevant and linked theory to practice. The project described in this paper will extend the work of implementing and assessing case studies from Cleveland State University to eleven other university partners, including using case studies in an Introduction to Engineering course for first year students, as well as the NSF Materials Digital Library for a total of thirteen universities participating in the project. The project is a work in progress, starting in the fall of 2009.

Introduction and Background Lessons learned from failures have substantially affected the practice of civil engineering and other engineering disciplines. The history of development of practice in many engineering disciplines is, in large part, the story of failures and of the changes to standards and procedures made as the result of forensic analyses. In addition to technical issues, concepts such as professional and ethical responsibility are highlighted by failure cases. Many authors over the past two decades have pointed out the need to integrate lessons learned from failure case studies in engineering education1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. The case for including failure case studies in the engineering curriculum has been made by several authors, including Delatte and Rens10, Delatte11, Carper8, Carper et al.12, and Carper et al.13. Over the years, the ASCE Technical Council on Forensic Engineering (TCFE) has carried out several surveys of civil engineer programs across the U.S. One common theme of the responses was that there was considerable interest in including failure case studies in courses, and that there was a lack of available materials suitable for classroom use 10, 13. As a result, considerable effort has been put by TCFE into developing case study materials suitable for classroom use. The use of case studies is also supported by the latest pedagogical research. From Analysis to Action14 refers on page 2 to textbooks lacking in practical examples as an emerging weakness. This source refers specifically to breadth of understanding, which may be achieved through case studies. Another issue addressed (14, p. 19) is the need to “incorporate historical, social, and ethical issues into courses for engineering majors.” The Committee on Undergraduate Science Education in Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology15 proposes that as many undergraduate students as

Delatte, N., & Ralston, P., & Roberts, M., & Brady, P., & Zoghi, M., & Hagerty, D. J., & Yu, X. (2010, June), Implementation And Assessment Of Case Studies In The Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15999

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