Asee peer logo

Integrating Dynamics Throughout The Sophmore Year

Download Paper |


1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.326.1 - 4.326.9

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Phillip J. Cornwell

author page

Jerry M. Fine

Download Paper |

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

Session 1368

Integrating Dynamics throughout the Sophomore Year

Phillip J. Cornwell, Jerry M. Fine Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


At Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the sophomore year curriculum primarily concentrates on engineering science material that is traditionally covered in courses such as Dynamics, Thermodynamics I, Fluid Mechanics and Circuits I. In the 1995-96 academic year, as part of the NSF sponsored Foundation Coalition, this material was repackaged for several majors into a new sequence of courses called the Sophomore Engineering Curriculum (SEC) where the concepts of conservation and accounting permeate the courses and are used to tie the subjects together. The mechanics material, traditionally taught in a dynamics course, has been distributed throughout the curriculum and is taught in a unified framework with the other engineering science material. From its inception, this curriculum has been required for all electrical engineering majors and computer engineering majors, but in the 1998-1999 academic year this curriculum was required for all mechanical engineering majors as well. Previous assessment results indicated that students taking the new curriculum performed better on a standardized test compared to students who took a traditional dynamics course. In this paper we will discuss how the mechanics material is distributed throughout the year and what difference, if any, there is in the performance of electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering students.

I. Introduction

Mastery of the engineering science material typically covered in courses such as Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Circuits in the sophomore or early junior year is crucial for advanced courses in these topics and for design courses. Even though basic principles such as conservation of energy and conservation of linear and angular momentum are encountered in many of these courses, the terminology, notation and methodology is often such that the principles look different in different classes. Therefore, subsequent courses do not reinforce the material taught in previous courses. Rose-Hulman, as part of the NSF sponsored Foundation Coalition, implemented a new sophomore curriculum starting in the 1995-96 academic year that repackaged the material in the courses listed above into a new sequence of courses called the Sophomore Engineering Curriculum (SEC). One purpose of the curriculum is to teach engineering science in a more cohesive manner. A number of papers have been written that discuss the major thrusts of the Foundation Coalition and how these have been incorporated into the curriculum at Rose-Hulman1,2.

Preliminary assessment results indicated an improvement in students’ problem solving abilities and understanding of dynamics principles from when students took a traditional dynamics class3. For this assessment, students taking the curriculum, primarily EE/CO students were compared to students taking a traditional dynamics course, primarily ME students. Therefore, there was some

Cornwell, P. J., & Fine, J. M. (1999, June), Integrating Dynamics Throughout The Sophmore Year Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1999 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015