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Introducing Freshmen To Engineering Design: Weather Station Project

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.406.1 - 5.406.13



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Paper Authors

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Brian S Macherone

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Jagdish T. Gajjar

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Cherrice Traver

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

Session 2253

Introducing Freshmen to Engineering Design: Weather Station Project

Cherrice Traver, Jagdish Gajjar, Brian Macherone Union College/State University of New York at Albany


In recent years there have been many examples of engineering curriculum reform in the freshman year 1,2,3,4. Some involve adding design to existing freshman courses 3, others involve the development of optional design courses 1,2 , and yet others are quite focused on a particular engineering topic such as modeling 4. This paper reports on a group design project that is part of a required engineering course that was designed during a major curriculum reform effort at Union College.

Union College is a private, undergraduate liberal arts and engineering college with approximately 2000 students. The engineering division offers programs in electrical, mechanical, civil and computer systems engineering as well as computer science. In 1995, the college was awarded a grant to revise the engineering curriculum. The freshman year was redesigned to include three 10-week trimester courses, illustrated in Table 1, that were common for all engineering and computer science students 5. This course sequence included the equivalent of one course in computer programming, and two courses in basic engineering science and design.

Freshman Sequence: Fundamentals of Engineering and Computer Science Fall Term - ESC-016 Winter Term - ESC-017 Spring Term - ESC-018 Introduction to Engineering Engineering Science Topics Design Project Modules and Case Studies Computer Programming Computer Programming

Table 1. Union’s 1996-1998 Freshman Year Engineering Curriculum

The fall term course was an introduction to engineering through a series of modules and case studies. In the winter term students began the computer programming section of the course and were introduced to specific engineering science topics such as energy, statics, instrumentation, digital logic and assembly language programming. These topics were selected to prepare students for the spring design projects. In the spring term, students completed the second half of the computer programming sequence and a large design project. Students were allowed to select one of 2-3 design projects offered. Since the spring term design project occupied one half of a course, the contact time was limited to one 2-hour lecture and one 3-hour lab session each week. In the spring of 1998, the design project choices were a Newcomen steam engine 6, a truss bridge7, and a weather station. Here we report on the weather station design project.

Macherone, B. S., & Gajjar, J. T., & Traver, C. (2000, June), Introducing Freshmen To Engineering Design: Weather Station Project Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8508

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