June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.804.1 - 23.804.17
Interdisciplinary, real-world, client-based term projects in an introductory environmental engineering and science courseMany universities have real environmental problems in areas such as energy efficiency, waterefficiency, and solid waste management, but do not always have the time or resources toexamine the problems in depth. Our university employs an introductory environmentalengineering and science course required for environmental engineering and environmentalscience majors, which is also available to non-STEM majors. Within the context of the course,we maintain a semester-long term project that examines real environmental problems, which ourstudents teams (3-4 students of varying academic majors) observe or clients (such as theDepartment of Public Works or our student government) identify. Preparation for the projectrequires student teams to develop a hypothesis and a basic sampling and evaluation protocol.Students then use the protocol to conduct sampling in the local community and analyze results inlight of their hypothesis. Students are required to submit a final written report. This term projectmodel also encourages interdisciplinary collaboration with other engineering disciplines andnon-STEM disciplines, such as the Marketing course in our university’s Department ofBehavioral Sciences and Leadership. This cross-cutting educational method can create moreholistic solutions to the identified problems, enhance student learning, and assist in meetingABET accreditation. To date, assessment of students who participated in the real-world, client-based project versus the previous project indicated an improvement in several important areas:valuation of results, motivation and understanding, confidence in problem solving skills, and thebelief that other students and community members cared about project results. This workpresents the methods our program developed to incorporate the scientific method, hypothesisdevelopment, and sampling methodologies to help solve these relevant real-world problems. Themethods required to implement this educational experience in environmental engineeringprograms to meet ABET accreditation requirements are also presented.
Pfluger, P.E., A. R., & Baideme, M. P., & Matthew, K. E., & Lewandowski, S. A., & Starke, J. A., & Butkus, M. A. (2013, June), Interdisciplinary, real-world, client-based term projects in an introductory environmental engineering and science course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19818
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