June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1275.1 - 12.1275.34
Service-Learning Integrated into Existing Core Courses throughout a College of Engineering
Service-Learning (S-L) and engineering education share the common goals of relating theory to practice and of civic engagement (“public problem solving”). In the current effort, service- learning is being integrated into a broad array of courses so that students will be exposed to S-L in every semester in the core curriculum in each of the five engineering departments at University of Massachusetts Lowell. The focus here is on the learning of traditional engineering content by engaging diverse learners in solving authentic problems in the community and in the process achieving ABET criteria and attracting underrepresented groups into engineering. Thirty-three faculty members out of 75 in the college integrated S-L into 52 different courses in 2005-06. Readers will find a wide array of projects and examples that can be adapted to their own courses.
Introduction Service-learning is the integration of academic subject matter with service to the community in credit-bearing courses, with key elements including reciprocity, reflection, coaching, and community voice in projects (Jacoby, 1996)2. Service-learning (S-L) has been shown to be effective in a large number of cognitive and affective measures, including critical thinking and tolerance for diversity, and leads to better knowledge of course subject matter, cooperative learning, recruitment of under-represented groups in engineering, retention of students, and citizenship, as well as helping meet the well-known ABET EC2000 criteria (a)-(k) (ABET, 2005)1. Service-learning team projects have the potential to ensure students learn and demonstrate these qualities in addition to the ability to apply engineering to the design and analysis of systems and experiments. Instead of adding more courses to satisfy ABET requirements, these criteria are met by S-L projects in existing core courses. For example, having community partners on S-L projects essentially guarantees that students will work on multidisciplinary teams. With the correct structure of S-L projects, the students will examine the impacts of engineering solutions in a societal context. Also, if S-L projects replace traditional analytical exercises in courses, the overall workload will typically not increase for the students. If students are motivated to spend more time on S-L projects, they are free to do so and should learn more in the process.
The approach of S-L, with its root in experiential learning, is consistent with the theories and empirical research of a number of leading educators and developmental psychologists, as documented by Brandenberger 3 and Jacoby2. The approach is also consistent with the recent change in paradigm in education from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning3,4. Astin et al5. found with longitudinal data of 22,000 students that service participation had significant positive effects on 11 outcome measures: academic performance (GPA, writing skills, critical thinking skills), values (commitment to activism and to promoting racial understanding), self-efficacy,
Duffy, J., & Kazmer, D., & Barrington, L., & Ting, J., & Barry, C., & Zhang, X., & Clark, D., & Rux, A. (2007, June), Service Learning Integrated Into Existing Core Courses Throughout A College Of Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2885
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