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Learning Experience in Mechanical Engineering First-Year Students

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2017 FYEE Conference


Daytona Beach, Florida

Publication Date

August 6, 2017

Start Date

August 6, 2017

End Date

August 8, 2017

Conference Session

Enrollment, Instruction and Pedagogy - Focus on Classroom Practices

Tagged Topic

FYEE Division - Paper Submission

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Paper Authors


Hamid Rad Washington State University

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Hamid Rad, Ph.D., P.E., is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering
at Washington State University, Vancouver. His areas of teaching and research interest include mechanical engineering design, design methodologies, and dynamic systems. His primary interest is teaching at undergraduate and graduate-level courses in the area of solid mechanics and design.

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The retention of engineering students continues to be a major challenge affecting engineering schools across the nation and unsuccessful experiences in freshmen engineering and science course are some of the driving factors contributing to this problem.

This paper presents details of a freshmen course reform offered in the mechanical engineering (ME) program at XXX University. It is a two semester-credit course with a primary purpose of giving the students an opportunity to explore what the mechanical engineering discipline topics are that they are going to learn in their four-year studies.

This course has been offered for the past ten years with various teaching approaches. It is mostly a project-based course combined with lecture across the mechanical engineering topics. These topics cover fundamentals of force/stress analysis, motion, material properties, fluids, etc. In the first few offerings, ME faculty members were invited as guest speakers to present their area of research to the students for the purpose introducing themselves. Mechanical engineers from local industry were invited as guest speakers to talk to the students about “a day in their engineering life”. These approaches have had various outcomes. With the amount of material to cover in a two-credit course, there has always been a challenge to cover class material, while trying to make the course appealing to the students.

In the new approach, in addition to covering the engineering fundamentals and problem solving, the students are engaged in two group projects enhancing their creativity and hands-on skills. One is a term project, similar to the ones assigned in previous years. The additional project, proposed for the first time at freshman level was on reverse engineering.

The paper provides details of how the course was organized, topics presented in the course, and the types of projects assigned to the students. Results on the student learning experience throughout the course conclude the paper.

Rad, H. (2017, August), Learning Experience in Mechanical Engineering First-Year Students Paper presented at 2017 FYEE Conference, Daytona Beach, Florida.

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