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Report On The Sooner City Workshop 2000 On Integrated Design

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.852.1 - 6.852.15



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Paper Authors

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Robert Knox

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Randall Kolar

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Leslie Fink

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Kanthasamy Muraleetharan

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Gerald Miller

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David Sabatini

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Baxter Vieux

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Michael Mooney

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Kurt Gramoll

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

Session 2525

Report on the Sooner City Workshop 2000 on Integrated Designa

R. L. Kolar, L. D. Fink, K. Gramoll, R. C. Knox, G. A. Miller, M. A. Mooney, K. K. Muraleetharan, D. A. Sabatini, B. E. Vieux

University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019


Sooner City, a curriculum reform project undertaken by the School of Civil Engineering and Envi- ronmental Science at the University of Oklahoma, seeks to thread a common design project (devel- oping a city’s infrastructure) throughout the undergraduate curriculum, starting in the freshman year. The project, begun in 1996, is supported by the University of Oklahoma and the National Science Foundation, most recently through its Action Agenda program. Sooner City has received local and national recognition, including most recently, two Oklahoma Regents’ Awards for outstanding faculty innovation. In summer 2000, a workshop was held to report on the project’s status and to solicit information from other faculty about teaching design and how to make it more portable to their institutions. The workshop, a series of topical lectures followed by breakout sections, was attended by 24 faculty from a wide-variety of public and private institutions. This paper summarizes major findings from the workshop, particularly as it relates to those wishing to pursue an integrated design project throughout their curriculum.

1. Background

Evaluations of existing undergraduate engineering programs continually cite three weaknesses: graduates lack technical literacy; graduates lack oral and written communication skills; and grad- uates lack design experience1-5. To address these weaknesses, the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science (CEES) at the University of Oklahoma, is proposing a systemic reform initiative that incorporates four themes throughout the curriculum. First, the centerpiece of the initiative is a common design project, entitled “Sooner City,” that is introduced during the freshman year and continues for the entire curriculum. Design tasks range from population estimates to the water supply system. A common design project unifies the curriculum and allows material learned in early courses to carry forward. Another advantage is that students will have a professional design portfolio that can be presented to prospective employers. Second, the design project is taught using the just-in-time learning paradigm. By focusing on real-world applications up front, students are interested and motivated to learn. Third, courses are being restructured to incorporate collaborative learning and group presentations, which enhances the students’ interpersonal and communication skills. Fourth, starting in Fall 1998, all incoming engineering freshman at OU must have a laptop computer with wireless communication technology so that each classroom becomes a networked

a. This is an abridged version of the full report. The complete document, including visual aids from invited speakers, can be found on the web at:

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Knox, R., & Kolar, R., & Fink, L., & Muraleetharan, K., & Miller, G., & Sabatini, D., & Vieux, B., & Mooney, M., & Gramoll, K. (2001, June), Report On The Sooner City Workshop 2000 On Integrated Design Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9737

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