Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Educational Research and Methods
This evidence-based practice paper describes a proposal for an assignment in an introduction to engineering course designed to help students become aware of just what it takes academically to obtain an engineering degree. In an effort to promote this awareness, the authors have instituted an assignment that is designed for the students to explore various universities, their engineering programs, and the prerequisites for those engineering programs. The qualitative data gathered through the assignment reflections were analyzed using criteria-based content analysis.
Students have, to a significant degree, found this assignment to be quite interesting and useful. Students come away with an understanding that engineers are all related in a way that they require almost the same core mathematical skills to obtain their engineering degree. It is often surprising to the students the various science courses that are required, regardless of the engineering degree sought. Some students are not aware of what a prerequisite is. Students frequently remark that this assignment "opened my eyes because if I begin a program at one university and decide to continue the program in another I may be required to take extra coursework to meet the requirements." Other students are convinced that they are going to pursue a particular engineering degree and as a result of the assignment, they choose a totally different engineering degree to pursue. Quite often, students are not even aware of all of the different types of engineering degrees available. This is even after they have covered the various engineering degrees via their textbook readings and assessment. It seems that doing research on their own solidifies the information. Another critical outcome is that some students realize that an engineering degree might not be for them or may not be a realistic goal. It is common for students to be surprised that "an engineering degree is a very complicated goal to achieve."
Along with the requirements of different engineering programs, students learn about various tuition and enrollment statistics for both public and private institutions. As a result of this assignment, students are able to plan better because they are more aware of the requirements and can better gauge a realistic timeline for graduation. This assignment has given the authors a surprising gratifying result, being thanked by students for giving an assignment!
In this paper, the authors will share the idea behind creating the assignment, the assignment itself, and the analysis of the results of the assignment after using it four semesters in both ground and online sections of an introduction to engineering course.
Wilson Orndoff, C. J., & Schott, E. W. (2018, June), Rewards of an Engineering Prerequisite Assignment Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30941
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