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Project Success: Sustaining Undergraduate Careers: A Computer Engineering Support System

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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

5.508.1 - 5.508.9

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Paper Authors

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Doug Jacobson

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Barbara L. Licklider

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

Session 1453

Project SUCCESS: Sustaining Undergraduate Careers: a Computer Engineering Support System

Doug Jacobson, Barb Licklider Iowa State University


Learning Communities, a growing initiative at Iowa State University, aid freshmen in the transition to college life as students live in the same residence hall and attend a common block of classes. By combining learning communities with the concept of student-centered active learning, students will gain control of and adjust more quickly to their new environment, experience increased achievement, and persist in the program. First year computer engineering students involved in the learning community participated in two new courses during the 1998/1999 academic year. The new courses were framed within the context of active learning to better prepare students for continuation in computer engineering by increasing their skills in group work and providing essential life-long learning skills. Students completed their freshman year with a greater awareness of computer engineering, knowledge and skills for successful teamwork, and experience a quicker and more satisfying acclimation to the university and college life.

The goal of project SUCCESS is: "To provide every student interested in Computer Engineering an opportunity to succeed at Iowa State University and to prepare him or her for their future careers." Engineering students take an academically challenging program of study beginning with rigorous courses in calculus, chemistry, and physics during their freshman year. While these courses are essential for providing a foundation upon which all engineering programs are based, many students find the courses difficult and elect not to continue their study of engineering. Project SUCCESS is an effort to help students survive the demands placed upon them as freshmen by providing a collaborative environment in which they will learn to seek assistance from and provide support to peers.

I. Introduction

Iowa State University is in the midst of a learning community revolution. During the 1998/1999 academic year nearly 1400 ISU freshman students are currently members of 59 learning communities on campus. A learning community is comprised of approximately 15 students within a common academic area of study and they take a core block of classes together. Nearly half of the 1400 students involved have a residential component to the learning community concept. The residential component involves having same-gender students within a learning community live on the same residence hall floor. This experience during the freshmen year helps the student adjust to the personal and social aspects of college life, and surviving the academic demands to which few students are prepared to enter.

During the 1998/1999 academic year, the computer engineering program at Iowa State University

Jacobson, D., & Licklider, B. L. (2000, June), Project Success: Sustaining Undergraduate Careers: A Computer Engineering Support System Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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