June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1274.1 - 12.1274.41
Service-Learning in Core Courses throughout a Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Abstract
Service-Learning (S-L) has been shown to be effective on a large number of cognitive and affective measures for college students. S-L is a pedagogy in which student learning objectives and real community needs are met in a credit-bearing course. In engineering the integration of S-L into any courses, much less existing core courses in a curriculum does not match the penetration in other disciplines. The Mechanical Engineering (ME) Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has incorporated S-L projects into core courses so that every student has at least one required core course every semester with a S-L project that is either a required or elective part of the course. During 2005-06 fourteen core ME courses had S-L projects, and a required engineering ethics course also had S-L in addition to four elective courses. Nine of twelve ME faculty members incorporated S-L in those courses (more recently 12 of 13), in addition to 3 faculty outside the department teaching courses for ME students. This initiative is part of a college-wide effort to have all five undergraduate programs have S-L integrated into the core curriculum (ECE, ChE, CE, and Plastics E).
Courses and projects included, for examples, introduction to engineering for first year students (common to students in all five programs) who designed and built educational displays for the local national historic park, sophomore design lab with device development for student relatives or friends with disabilities, a dynamics course with safety analysis of many local playgrounds, a convective process course with the design of a water supply system for a village in a developing country, a statics course with a water tower design for another village (with the later two systems actually constructed in the villages the college has “adopted”), a machine elements course with four different S-L miniprojects, a ME laboratory course with the design of a measurement system to test local playground surface hardness, a heat transfer course with the analysis of energy efficiency of college classrooms, and finally several capstone course projects including a FIRST robot design/built with high school students, systems for remote villages, and an assistive technology device. In total 366 student-course projects were completed, ranging from extra credit to 100% of the course.
Assessment tools included several college-wide surveys and interviews of faculty, students, and community partners and student reports and presentations. The ME undergraduate student surveys from spring 2006 totaled 89 and do not include first year students because of the common courses. The average number of S-L courses taken was 2.4. To statements that S-L helped increase interest in learning, increase commitment to the community, improved writing and speaking skills, leadership ability, personal ability to “make a difference,” value of teamwork (among others) students recorded a range of agreement to non-agreement on a 1-9 point Likert scale. The averages were all 6 or above, disagreement ranged from 7 % to 14% and agreement from 60 to 75%. Most
Duffy, J., & Barrington, L., & West, C., & McKelliget, J., & Niemi, E., & Shina, S., & Sun, H., & Niezrecki, C., & Parkin, R., & Charmchi, M., & Avitabile, P. (2007, June), Service Learning In Core Courses Throughout A Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2882
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