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Innovation And Integration In An In House First Year Engineering Program: A Fast Track To Engineering Enculturation

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Assessment and Curriculum Development

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

24

Page Numbers

14.736.1 - 14.736.24

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4825

Download Count

39

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Paper Authors

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Elizabeth Godfrey University of Auckland

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Dr Elizabeth Godfrey has a Ph.D. in engineering education from Curtin University of Technology, Australia. Her career that has included university lecturing in Chemistry, high school teaching and 10 years as an advocate for Women in Science and Engineering, and most recently completing a 9 year term as the Associate Dean Undergraduate at the School of Engineering at the University of Auckland She has been a contributor to Engineering Education conferences, and an advocate for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning since the early 1990s, and is currently President of the Australasian Association of Engineering Education. Her research interests are focused on the culture of engineering education, gender and first year programs

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Rosalind Archer University of Auckland

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Dr Rosalind Archer holds a B.E. in Engineering Science from the University of Auckland, and a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University. She has lectured in petroleum engineering program at Stanford University and at Texas A&M University. She has been employed as a lecturer/senior lecturer in Engineering Science at the University of Auckland since 2002.

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Paul Denny University of Auckland

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Paul Denny holds an MSc (Hons), First Class, in Computer Science from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is a senior tutor in the Department of Computer Science, with 9 years of experience teaching programming courses and has interests in contribution based learning. He developed the PeerWise tool to support this approach, and has experience incorporating other eLearning technologies into course design.

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Margaret Hyland University of Auckland

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Margaret Hyland (FIChemE, MASM, and MRSNZ) is an Associate Professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering and Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Engineering. She has taught in a wide variety of chemical engineering and materials engineering courses, from first year to postgraduate level. In addition to leading the development of the Engineering, Biology and Chemistry first year course, she has also established a new industry-based Master's programme in Light Metals Reduction Technology. Her research is in two areas, environmental and materials issues in aluminium reduction technology and thermal spray coatings.

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Chris Smaill University of Auckland

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Dr Chris Smaill holds a Ph.D. in engineering education from Curtin University of Technology, Australia, and degrees in physics, mathematics and philosophy from the University of Auckland. For 27 years he taught physics and mathematics at high school level, most recently as Head of Physics at Rangitoto College, New Zealand's largest secondary school. This period also saw him setting and marking national examinations, training high-school teachers, and publishing several physics texts. Since the start of 2002 he has lectured in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Auckland

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Karl Stol University of Auckland

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Dr Karl Stol earned his Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Aerospace Engineering Science. He joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland in 2004 and is currently a Senior Lecturer, teaching courses and supervising graduate students in dynamics and control systems. He was awarded the Early Career Teaching Excellence Award in 2007 from the Faculty of Engineering.

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

Innovation and Integration in an In-house First-Year Engineering Program: A fast track to Engineering Enculturation Abstract

The first-year of the four-year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) program at the University of Auckland has been taught entirely in-house by the School of Engineering since 1996, when university-wide structural changes enabled the fulfillment of “a strong desire to move students straight into the engineering way of thinking”. The changes made were seen as matching well with international calls for engineering education curriculum reform. This in- house program is very rare in an international landscape where the majority of first-year engineering courses, are taught as service courses by faculty from mathematics and science departments with one or two design or hands-on introduction-to-engineering courses providing a taste of “real” engineering. This paper charts the evolution of that program, its strengths, challenges, weaknesses and ongoing evaluations with particular reference to innovations in delivery and assessment in the context of an integrated curriculum. The common program, taught entirely in-house, provides the opportunity for the early development of a sense of belonging and identity as an engineer. Data presented in the form of student feedback, assessment results and evaluations suggest that this program may well provide examples of best practice.

Introduction

In the mid 1990s a series of international reviews of engineering education1,2,3, called for engineering graduates to be: “more outward looking, more attuned to the real concerns of communities. Courses should promote environmental, economic and global awareness, problem-solving ability, engagement with information technology… communication, management and teamwork skills, but on a sound base of mathematics and engineering technology” (IEAust, 1996)

Simultaneously, recruitment of a larger and more diverse pool of applicants, and retention through to graduation, were spotlighted as major concerns in response to demands for more engineering graduates from industry and the profession. Over the last ten years, the dialogue surrounding the need for change in the education of engineers has become even stronger4,5 and engineering degree programs have responded with program and curricular restructuring, pedagogical innovation, the increased use of problem based learning, and a gradual shift in the discourse from “teaching” to “learning”. Issues of student engagement, transition and attrition during the first-year of higher education have become a major focus - as evidenced by an expanding literature, conference sessions and even the creation of a separate journal6. Within engineering, recruitment and retention issues have been identified as a major concern and area of study 4,7,8. A plethora of recruitment initiatives, attempting to enlarge the potential pool of applicants, can be found in the literature and provide exemplars of best practice. For retention through to graduation, the need to build more, and stronger, connections between first-year curricula dominated by mathematics and science courses and potential engineering career paths was recognized as highly necessary if attrition from first- year engineering studies was to be reduced9. The approaches to first-year engineering programs reported on by Baillie10 in 1998, collated from a survey of over 100 institutions in 12 countries, could be viewed as the “combined wisdom about best practice” at that time. She identified six major categories in approaches to first-year engineering programs. These were: creating a short introductory course, additional help with one aspect of the course, developing a new or overhauled subject, introducing an entire curriculum change,

Godfrey, E., & Archer, R., & Denny, P., & Hyland, M., & Smaill, C., & Stol, K. (2009, June), Innovation And Integration In An In House First Year Engineering Program: A Fast Track To Engineering Enculturation Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4825

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