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Starting In Reverse

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.369.1 - 2.369.6



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Paper Authors

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Lisa A. Riedle

author page

Jill M. Clough

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

Session 2326

Starting in Reverse

Dr. Lisa A. Riedle, Dr. Jill M. Clough University of Wisconsin - Platteville

Reverse engineering, a group project utilized in the utilized in the University of Wisconsin - Platteville's freshman engineering courses. Three years ago the college of engineering implemented a freshman engineering course. There were a variety of objectives: retention, getting them involved in the college of engineering as freshmen, group projects, oral and written communication skills, and design experience.

The first year the course was taught a great deal of latitude was given in selecting topics for the group projects. This resulted in reports and presentations that were not of high quality. Student groups complained of boring topics, difficulties in finding information, conflicts among group members, and troubles determining the project's direction. The authors agreed the project needed to be revised. In addition, it was thought that a project which provided a hands-on experience and encouraged students to use their creativity might have a positive impact on retention. "Reverse" engineering provided the opportunity for students to work with a familiar object and determine how it was made, how it worked, and how it could be improved.

Results of the reverse engineering projects were positive. The quality of reports and presentations improved, and the percentage of students retained in engineering also improved. Allowing students to start with a familiar object an relate it to engineering may be an excellent opportunity to explain the various disciplines and phases of engineering. The projects also improving retention of freshmen students while building interpersonal, communication, and creative problem solving skills.

I. Background

GE 102 Introduction to Engineering is a relatively new course at UW-Platteville. The course is designed to 1) provide a broad overview of the engineering profession, 2) describe the engineering programs available at UW-Platteville, 3) familiarize students with campus resources, 4) encourage students to participate in campus activities and professional organizations, 5) encourage students to make a connection with an engineering faculty member, and 6) provide an introduction to software which is readily available on campus. . The course is required of all new engineering and pre-engineering students. Historically, about 420 students enroll in GE 102 in Fall semesters. In Fall 1996, ten sections of the course were taught by eight different engineering faculty members. In Spring semesters there is one section of GE 102. Grades in the course were based on students’ participation, assignments, a faculty interview, activities, and a group project. Each instructor covered similar material, but the exact content and structure of the class were left to individual instructors.

Each of the authors had taught the course in Fall 1994 with some success and some frustration. One major source of frustration was the group project. In Fall 1994, students were encouraged to select an

Riedle, L. A., & Clough, J. M. (1997, June), Starting In Reverse Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6792

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