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Portfolios In A First Year Design Course: Lessons Learned In The First Four Years

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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

5.494.1 - 5.494.5

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Paper Authors

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Richard D. Wilk

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George H. Williams

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

Session 2586

Portfolios in a First-Year Design Course: Lessons Learned in the First Four Years

Richard Wilk, George Williams Union College


The first-year engineering design course at Union College has been offered in the Fall term for the last four years. The course has evolved significantly during that time, but the inclusion of a student portfolio has remained a constant part of the course. The paper presents ways that the portfolio goes beyond the traditional mechanism to assess the course and student learning. The portfolio is a mechanism to provide continuity in the engineering programs.

Students and faculty are encouraged to create their course portfolio in both hard copy and in Web Page formats. Three major benefits of the portfolio are described: 1) allowing students and faculty to review material from earlier courses, 2) allowing faculty to build on previous material that is archived in the portfolios, and 3) motivate students to appreciate the prerequisite course material that is preparation for upper-level courses and senior design projects.


In the last six years, the Engineering and Computer Science Programs at Union College were extensively revised as part of a study funded by the General Electric Fund. One result is a first- year curriculum that includes a new common course, “The Fundamentals of Engineering and Computer Science.” or First-Year Design course, for short. This course was offered for the fourth time in the Fall term of the 1999-2000 academic year. The catalog description of the course is provided in Appendix A; the course (ABET EC2000) objectives and performance measurements are detailed in Appendices B and C.

Wilk, R. D., & Williams, G. H. (2000, June), Portfolios In A First Year Design Course: Lessons Learned In The First Four Years Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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