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Restructuring Of Ce4506 (Environmental Policy And Pollution Prevention Design) And Student Response Survey

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Curricula

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1088.1 - 11.1088.19



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Paper Authors


Michelle Jarvie Michigan Technological University

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Michelle Jarvie is a Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University. She has a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and an M.S. in Environmental Policy. Prior to her current studies, she worked for two years as a consulting engineer on the city of Detroit's water system. She has also worked as a civil engineer for the National Park Service, and advised Denali National Park on their wastewater treatment. Her dissertation is on the biodegradation of the natural estrogens estrone and estradiol in sewer systems. She is committed to excellence in teaching, and will be available for academic positions that start in the fall of 2007.

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

Restructuring of CE4506 (Environmental Policy and Pollution Prevention Design) and Student Response Survey Abstract

This paper details the format change of a senior level environmental policy and pollution prevention class offered to 51 civil and environmental engineering students in Spring of 2005. The old format entailed 3 lecture hours per week, and traditional hour exams. The new format included class room strategies for active and collaborative learning, had no exams, and reduced the lecture to one class hour each week. The paper includes qualitative results from a survey regarding student preferences for the new class structure in comparison to the previous structure.

1. Background

Historically, engineering education has been dominated by a lecture only format, in which students are expected to retain and memorize lecture material, reproducing it on demand for exams1. This one-way transfer of information from teacher to student has been termed the “banking concept of education” by Paulo Freire2.

In the 1970’s Feire criticized “banking education” for its inability to actively involve the students as critical thinkers. Freire viewed banking education as a form of domination, in which the teacher maintained total control over the lecture material, and the students became intellectually unengaged, passive recipients of facts.

As an alternative to banking education, Freire suggested that modern educators should utilize dialogue within the class, creating an environment that develops critical thinking and focuses on education as a process of inquiry. In this new pedagogy, teachers and students would become co-investigators about the subject at hand. The roles would become more fluid, with teachers learning from students and students learning from teachers. Freire emphasized the fundamental importance of dialogue in education, writing “Without dialogue there is no communication. And without communication there can be no true education”2. Freire believed that banking education was a means of dominance, which required the passive acceptance of facts by students. He proposed that education should be a practice of freedom, engaging students to become involved in class and critically examine the material at hand.

Currently, many engineering educators are unknowingly practicing Freire’s liberation pedagogy through the inclusion of active learning techniques. Active learning has been “generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process”3. As Freire called for, active learning includes

Jarvie, M. (2006, June), Restructuring Of Ce4506 (Environmental Policy And Pollution Prevention Design) And Student Response Survey Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--518

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