New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
This study discusses design competencies in several introductory engineering courses at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences within the general education program as well as required introductory courses for electrical and mechanical engineering majors. Each of these courses has a final team project, with varying degrees of open-endedness, in lieu of a traditional exam. Design competencies were measured in these courses, both pre- and post-experience, using self-reported surveys as well as instructor assessment of ABET learning outcomes. The post-experience surveys as well as final project rubrics were used to measure changes in design competencies as well as changes in self-efficacy. There was a correlation between the changes of self-efficacy and ABET outcomes at the end of the courses for both major-specific and general education courses. Students in the general education course scored lower in final self-efficacy compared to their peers in the major-specific courses but there may be a trade-off between making engineering material more accessible to general education requirements as compared to the depth covered in major-specific courses. This paper shows that encouraging and motivating students to study engineering does not necessarily have to be distinct from teaching them technical design or engineering skills. Learning outcomes in hands-on design courses are a critical component to student engagement and retention within engineering and the liberal arts. All of the courses discussed within this paper play important but different roles within the engineering curriculum at Harvard.
Lombardo, C., & Faas, D., & Uttamchandani, A. (2016, June), Improving Design Competency in Introductory Engineering Courses within a General Education Requirement Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25611
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