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Learner Centered Instruction in Mechanical Engineering Program

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Learning and Assessment III

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.880.1 - 25.880.6



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Paper Authors


Tom Spendlove Baker College, Flint

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Tom Spendlove teaches engineering and CAD courses at Baker College in Flint, Mich.

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Anca L. Sala Baker College, Flint

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Anca L. Sala is professor and Dean of engineering and computer technology at Baker College of Flint. In addition to her administrative role, she continues to be involved with development of new engineering curriculum, improving teaching and assessment of student learning, assessment of program outcomes and objectives, and ABET accreditation. She is an active member of ASEE, ASME, and OSA, serving in various capacities.

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James Riddell Baker College, Flint

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James A. Riddell is the former Dean of Engineering and Technology at Baker College of Flint, Mich. He currently works at Jazan Economic City Polytechnic in Saudi Arabia. He is a member of ASEE, ASME, SME (Past Chair), and SAE (Past Chair).

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Learner Centered Instruction in Mechanical Engineering ProgramA new initiative at our college has brought into focus improved student learning and retention through thepractice of Learner Centered Instruction. This practice includes a wide variety of teaching approacheswhere students are actively involved in the learning process taking place in the classroom, as opposed tothe teacher centric traditional lectures. As Engineering faculty we have long been using such approachesin many of our courses, for example in courses which include experimental laboratories and projects. Theinitiative is nevertheless welcome and has prompted us to focus more consciously on the effect ofteaching on, and the assessment of student learning. This paper will discuss a variety of design projectswe are using throughout the curriculum in the Mechanical Engineering program before the Senior DesignProject, how they fit with the Learner Centered Instruction initiative, as well as how they support theProgram Outcomes and Program Educational Objectives of our ABET accredited program.Projects from courses taught in the last year or during the current school year will be discussed, including:design project to analyze longform sets of data points and communicate results in ‘Computing forEngineers’, design project encouraging students to redesign dry erase markers in ‘ProEngineer’, project todesign, model and analyze mechanical arms in ‘Computer Aided Engineering’, research project toanalyze and present new types of energy in ‘Engineering Topics: an Introduction to Alternative Energyfor Engineers’, design project to design and manufacture a heat exchanger in ‘Thermal Systems Lab’, andproject to set-up and perform an experiment to measure stress using strain gages in ‘Circuit Analysis’.

Spendlove, T., & Sala, A. L., & Riddell, J. (2012, June), Learner Centered Instruction in Mechanical Engineering Program Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21637

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