June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.918.1 - 12.918.13
Integrating General Aviation Aircraft In the Aerospace Curriculum
The Aerospace Engineering Department at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, is in the later phase of a dynamic experiment to revitalize its “hands on” approach to undergraduate engineering education and bring it better in line with evolving accreditation standards. Part of this plan is to introduce commercially available aircraft manufacturing and fabrication “kits” into its laboratory curriculum. This has been largely accomplished, and the challenges of the initial phases of this task were presented in a previous publication. This paper presents how the lessons learned and resulting innovative learning experiences are being integrated throughout the aerospace curriculum with a critical eye towards meeting accreditation standards. These innovative experiences include modifying course syllabi across many technical areas, focusing on the individual learning styles that generate interest and enthusiasm in students, overcoming the inertial of established grading processes that do not recognize or reward exceptional teamwork, and linking with funded projects and related proposals supporting work up to the graduate level.
The way that Cal Poly has been meeting the above challenges has been unique and rewarding, yet still contains risk relative to accreditation. These risks are discussed relative to the next accreditation visit where the department hopes to win approval for its innovative approach to curriculum development.
The Educational Challenge
About some topics perhaps too much has been written, an over-consumption that discourages even honest effort to contribute further. Education, especially technical education, is one such topic. Open a literary magazine and there is the latest forum on education; newspapers both local and nationwide1 carry the latest surveys, court decisions, and politics regarding our schools; major news magazines rank colleges2 annually; editorials tell us where we have gone wrong with our children and what to do about it; and everywhere there are educational statistics, graduate earnings comparisons, cost and savings plans for each state in the union; numbers and charts everywhere, and all of them reminders of Benjamin Disraeli's lament on the progression of data masquerading as truth— "lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Similarly, ideas abound on how to improve technical education3 by changing America’s culture of teaching. Engineering accreditation teams struggle with how to promote and evaluate the laboratory experience4 so that more can share in the benefits of “hands on” activity. One of the primary goals of engineering practice has always been to link theory with practice, and true-life stories of engineering practice are both interesting and profound.5, 6 Providing the student with his or her own true-life experience while at the academy increases both the motivation to master a subject and the developing passion for creative activity.
Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference * Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Biezad, D., & Kim, J. (2007, June), Integrating General Aviation Aircraft In The Aerospace Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2627
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