June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Engineering Design Graphics
13.746.1 - 13.746.10
Innovation versus Analysis A Case Study in Improving Technology Courses
But a few years ago educators were dealing with the implementation of outcomes based accreditation. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) started this process with the TC2k criterion in 2000. Since then, other accrediting bodies have also gone to outcomes based assessment. In the intervening years, educators have learned about strategic plans, goals, objectives, outcomes, and a host of other terms. Many faculty and administrators went through periods of confusion, doubt, and even anxiety over outcomes based assessment. Now that there is a general understanding of the process, it seems fair to "assess" outcomes based assessment and see if it delivers what it promises - improved education.
This paper examines the seemingly widely different areas of Computer Graphics Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology and finds notable similarities in the assessment techniques used. The paper then examines historical assessment data from a course in each area and looks at how the improvements came about. The authors noted many improvements based on the assessment data; however, the most significant changes with the most impact on the students came from innovation, not assessment. So, while assessment plays a key role especially in incremental improvements, innovation still plays an enormous role in improving courses.
Prior to the 2000 paradigm shift, ABET accreditation was referred to as a “recipe”1. Unfortunately, the ingredients of the recipe were never mixed. Imagine placing eggs alongside flour, sugar, butter, and baking soda in a pan next to each other and expecting a cake to result. As educators, that was our response to the old ABET criteria. We simply created a course for each required topic and said the result was an engineer or technologist. Of course, that method did not work well, and many educators recognized that fact. At Purdue University Calumet, the faculty has spent the intervening years learning how to incorporate outcomes based assessment into courses and programs. Even non-accredited programs are going through this same process since most institutional accreditation requirements used to accredit colleges and universities by the Higher Learning Commission (HCL) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and other regional associations have gone to outcomes based assessment 2.
One of the first courses converted to outcomes based assessment at Purdue University Calumet was MET 461, Computer Integrated Design & Manufacturing. The initial efforts in this area were published by Higley3. Follow on work in Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) was published by Colwell, et. al 4. Since that time, we have collected considerable data from these and other courses, including the relatively young CGT program. We have found outcomes based assessment very useful for improving courses in some, but not all areas. The remainder of this paper examines our experiences in two courses, MET 461 and CGT 351, Interactive Multimedia Design.
Roller, M., & Higley, J. (2008, June), Innovation Versus Analysis Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3230
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