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Interdisciplinary Freshman Experience

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.816.1 - 10.816.10



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Paper Authors

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Tom Gally

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Steve Chadwick

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Randy Shaffer

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Milton Cone

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Jim Helbling

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

Interdisciplinary Freshman Experience

Chuck Cone, Steve Chadwick, Tom Gally, Jim Helbling, and Randall Shaffer

College of Engineering Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott, Arizona


This paper summarizes a cooperative effort undertaken by the Aeronautical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering Departments at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that led to the development of a team-taught interdisciplinary engineering course offered to incoming freshmen. The authors discuss the inception of the project, the development of the course content, and the lessons learned from the first year of teaching the course as a prototype using a select subset of incoming engineering freshmen.

In the past, each engineering department at Embry-Riddle University conducted its own introduction to engineering class. The College decided about a year ago that our graduates saw themselves as engineers in their specific discipline and not as engineers on an interdisciplinary team. In order to begin the change of philosophy, a team was put together from each engineering department to create a freshman course that would emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of current engineering practice. The instructors share lecture and grading responsibility, and attempt to integrate material relative to their own areas of expertise into an interdisciplinary design experience.


The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the development of an Introduction to Engineering course at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott, Arizona. This course was created as a part of a ‘common core’ freshmen program, and was intended to provide students with a multi-disciplinary experience branching the aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science fields of study. As such, the course was team-taught by faculty drawn from each of the various disciplines. Each instructor was tasked with developing lecture and laboratory content which would allow students to develop cross-discipline engineering design skills.

This paper begins by describing the course goals and objectives as envisioned by the instructor team. A description of the organization of the course and the sequencing of the subject matter follows, along with a discussion of how lecture and laboratory time was utilized in ensuring that the goals and objectives were realized. This will be followed by a summary of the lessons learned by the instructors in implementing the class material, and a final discussion of the plan to scale the course to include all incoming engineering freshmen.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Gally, T., & Chadwick, S., & Shaffer, R., & Cone, M., & Helbling, J. (2005, June), Interdisciplinary Freshman Experience Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15331

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