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Student Projects in Engineering History and Heritage

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Activities and Assessment for “Awkward ABET Outcomes”

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1106.1 - 23.1106.12



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Paper Authors


Norb Delatte P.E. Cleveland State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Norbert J. Delatte, Jr., P.E., F.ACI, F.ASCE, is a professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cleveland State University. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from The Citadel in 1984, a master's degree in Civil Engineering from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 1996.

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Student Projects in Engineering History and Heritage University undergraduate engineering programs have technical components as well asgeneral education and liberal arts components. Often, the various components are not integratedwell, and students may not see the relationships between technology and history. On the otherhand, non-engineering students very rarely take engineering courses, and thus may graduate withvery limited understanding of engineering and technology and their roles in society. At University X, a course entitled ESC 200 Engineering History and Heritage has beendeveloped to allow students to investigate the development of technology in civil, mechanical,chemical, and electrical engineering in the context of historical case studies. The course is arequirement of the recently revised ABET accredited Bachelor of Civil Engineering (BCE)degree program, and was first offered in the spring 2011 semester. Although the course has noprerequisites and is open to any student at the University, so far the majority have been civilengineering students. The course is scheduled in the second semester of the second (sophomore)year of the four year BCE curriculum. As part of the course, students working in groups prepare and present an engineeringhistory case study. The students, working in groups of 3 or 4, write technical papers and presenttheir results on the last day of class. This allows the student groups to develop and demonstratetheir communication skills as well as their mastery of the course concepts. The student projects provide other benefits. Projects that are done well can beincorporated into future offerings of the course. An example is how the development andeventual decline of the Ohio canal system influenced the growth of the state’s economy, and howthe canals led to the growth of the railroads that eventually overtook them. This case study,developed by a student group from the spring 2011, was included as a module in the spring 2012course offering. This case study has also been submitted to an ASCE journal for review andpossible publication. Some of the projects from spring 2012 show promise for future adoption.

Delatte, N. (2013, June), Student Projects in Engineering History and Heritage Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22491

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