Asee peer logo

Preparing the Engineering Student for Success with IDEAS: A Second Year Experiential Learning Activity for Large-size Classes

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Investigating Instructional Strategies

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Ricardo Zaurin P.E. University of Central Florida

visit author page

Dr. Zaurin obtained his Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering from 'Universidad de Oriente' in Venezuela in 1985. In 1990 he earned a MSc in Information Technology. He has been civil engineering professor with teaching experience at his Alma Mater (Universidad de Oriente) from 1986 until 2002. Dr. Zaurin moves to USA and completes another MSc, this time Structural and Geotechnical Engineering. Upon completing multidisciplinary PhD on Structural Health Monitoring Using Computer Vision, he joined UCF in 2010 as a Lecturer at the Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering (CECE) Department. He has published computer vision related research work in prominent journals and still mentors graduate students in this particular area. Dr. Zaurin has been very active in the STEM area as he is one of the selected faculty members for the NSF funded EXCEL and NSF funded COMPASS programs at UCF. Dr. Zaurin received College Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2015, TIP Award in 2016, and also received 4 Golden Apple Awards for Undergraduate Teaching for a record four years in a row. During Fall 2013 he created IDEAS (Interdisciplinary Display for Engineering Analysis Statics) which is a project based learning activity designed specifically for promoting creativity, team-work, and presentation skills for undergraduate sophomore and junior students, as well as by exposing the students to the fascinating world of scientific/technological research based engineering. IDEAS is becoming the cornerstone event for the sophomore engineering students at UCF: from fall 2013 to fall 2017 approximately 2000 students have created, designed, presented, and defended around 600 projects and papers.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Education research has shown that when students are engaged in meaningful and relevant learning experiences, their motivation to learn is increased as well as the retention and graduation in their disciplines. Also, due to the well-documented success of first-year experience initiatives all around the country, there have been a good amount of efforts to create programs specifically designed for these students. However, national studies indicates that large number of college students leave their first institution at the end of the second year negatively impacting college retention and graduation rates as well as causing lasting damage, such as student loan debts, for the drop-out students. Based on the previous premises, a second-year course, which is common to almost all engineering disciplines, was selected to incorporate an experiential learning activity destined to improve second year retention and graduation rates. This course is Engineering Analysis- Statics . The typical size of the class was also a challenge since the average enrollment varies from 150 to 250 students. The Interdisciplinary Display for Engineering Analysis Statics-IDEAS was developed and organized with the objective of promoting the creativity, team work, and presentation skills of undergraduate sophomore and junior students, as well as exposing them to the interesting world of scientific/technological research based engineering. This effort is expected to close the gap between the theory and applied engineering at the early stages of education. This is also expected to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), even sparking more interest in some students with the desire of pursuing a graduate degree in STEM disciplines. For IDEAS, the students are asked to form groups and work for a final project. They select a topic, preferably related with their majors, and conduct research involving some of the concepts learned in the course Engineering Analysis-Statics (EGN 3310). The projects involve physical models, measurements, and comparison of the experimental data with the theoretical calculations. Also, the students write research papers and prepare posters, which are presented on the day of their showcase. These projects are judged by professors and graduate students. First places are awarded with medals and students receive a certificate of participation upon completion and presentation of their projects. Online copies of the proceedings with all the abstracts are made available to the community. While possible project topics are recommended, students have the freedom to choose their own, provided that they present their concept ideas and abstracts for their professor’s approval. Since fall 2013 there have been eight IDEAS events where more than 2000 students have participated, conducted research, and produced approximately 600 papers, projects, and posters. A full description of IDEAS as well as examples and results regarding effectiveness, students’ perception of instruction, retention, and graduation rates will be included in the final paper.

Zaurin, R. (2018, June), Preparing the Engineering Student for Success with IDEAS: A Second Year Experiential Learning Activity for Large-size Classes Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30886

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015