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Introduction Of Service Learning In A Freshman Engineering Course

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Two Year College Tech Session II

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.810.1 - 13.810.5



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Paper Authors


Dan Dimitriu San Antonio College

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DAN G. DIMITRIU has been practicing engineering since 1970 and taught engineering courses concurrently for over 20 years. He has been involved with several engineering societies and was elected vice-chair of the Two-Year College Division of ASEE in 2005. He has been the coordinator of the Engineering Program at San Antonio College since 2001. His research interests are: alternative fuels, fuel cells, plastics, and engineering education.

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Jerry O'Connor San Antonio College

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JERRY ⁏CONNOR has been teaching physics (and a few engineering courses) at San Antonio College since 1987.
He was the Campus Coordinator for the Texas Alliance for Minority Participation program from 1993 to 2002,
and is currently the Department Chairperson for Physics, Engineering, & Architecture. He has been involved in numerous initiatives to integrate the findings of physics and engineering education research with education practice.

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

Service Learning in a Freshman Engineering Course Abstract

This paper presents an account of the implementation of a new Service Learning Project as a component of a freshman engineering course. A significant part of the required work for this course is comprised of team projects. The service learning project required each team to work in a different area of urban housing renovation. One team would work on foundations, another team on plumbing, another team on electrical wiring, and so on. The team assignments were made by the Instructor in consultation with the contractor in order to assure equivalent workloads for each team.. The project concluded with a report and a presentation by each team to the class. The team presentations and reports covered a broad area of engineering applications related to residential construction that also provided a forum to exchange ideas and lessons learned during the project.. The planning, implementation, and results of this service learning project are examined and the project effectiveness is evaluated.

Project Goals The primary goal of this project was to introduce freshman engineering students to authentic problems encountered in everyday activities that are representative of engineering problems in general, and that can be analyzed within their level of expertise. The project was also intended to increase students’ attention to details and enhance their problem solving abilities. These goals support the larger effort to attract and retain students in the field of engineering. Specific learning objectives for the course in general and this project in particular are: • Students will be able to work productively with fellow students. • Students will be able to identify the distinctions between the various disciplines and functions within Engineering. • Students will be able to use word-processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software to write and present reports on assignments and projects.

Project Description This Service Learning project initially involved 24 students enrolled in one section of the Introduction to Engineering course during the 2007 Spring Semester at San Antonio College. This course addresses five primary themes: • orientation to the engineering curriculum • academic success strategies • team building and community activities • personal development • professional development

As part of the normal required coursework, the students are organized in teams to work together on three projects. The projects are mandatory and each one contributes 20% of the final course grade. They are designed to expose students to various elements of real life


Dimitriu, D., & O'Connor, J. (2008, June), Introduction Of Service Learning In A Freshman Engineering Course Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3200

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