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Simulated Conference Meets Academic, Advising, And Library Goals For Freshmen

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Innovations in Freshman Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1000.1 - 7.1000.29



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Paper Authors

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Rachel Callison

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Bob Lorence

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Dan Budny

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Kate Thomes

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

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Session: 3553

Simulated Conference Meets Academic, Advising, and Library Goals for Freshman Engineering Students Dan Budny, Rachel Callison, Bob Lorence, and Kate Thomes University of Pittsburgh

Abstract – First-year engineering students hold a mock professional conference designed to meet the instructional objectives of the Freshman Program’s academic and advising components, and the Engineering Library at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering. The Annual Sustainability Conference is the result of collaboration between these three groups that creates a student-centered learning environment to help freshmen make informed decisions about their future educational and career goals in engineering. Students research various fields of engineering and learn about companies, jobs and “hot topics” in their area of interest. In the process of creating a mock conference paper on sustainability, students learn library skills and resources, how to conduct research, and how to write technical papers and make oral presentations.

Problem Statement

The Freshman Program at the University of Pittsburgh has an academic and an advising component. The mission of both components is to create a first year experience that promotes the student’s continued pursuit of an engineering degree. In addition, the academic component has the mission of introducing the students to the necessary computer tools to meet the needs of their future departments, introduce the concept of teamwork, and improve the communication skills of the students. Part of the Engineering Library’s mission has been to work with freshmen in order to give them a solid orientation to library research in a university setting. The problem is how to create a curriculum that can satisfy all these missions.

Academic Concerns

The primary purpose of teaching is to facilitate student learning. Traditional teaching methodologies have been shown to put students in a role of passive rather than active learning. [1] In addition, traditional instructional methods have also been shown to be very inadequate in terms of the promotion of deep learning and long-term retention of important concepts. Students in traditional classrooms acquire most of their “knowledge” through classroom lectures and textbook reading. A troubling fact is, after instruction, students often emerge from our classes with serious misconceptions [2-6]. The Engineering School is attempting to solve this academic concern and meet the mission of introducing teamwork by using cooperative learning in the new integrated freshman curriculum [7,8]. In addition to providing a different learning environment, it is also promoting the students' communication skills. However, even with this type of instruction, the traditional engineering problem solving course does not provide enough

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ã 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Callison, R., & Lorence, B., & Budny, D., & Thomes, K. (2002, June), Simulated Conference Meets Academic, Advising, And Library Goals For Freshmen Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10906

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