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Successes And Failures In Teaching A Freshman Level Engineering Design And Graphics Course

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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

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1037.1 - 7.1037.7



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Paper Authors

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William Haering

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Main Menu Session 2793

Successes and Failures In Teaching a Freshman-Level Engineering Design and Graphics Course

William Haering The Pennsylvania State University – DuBois Campus


The author discusses experiences teaching a freshman-level engineering design and graphics course over a two-year span at the DuBois Campus of the Pennsylvania State University. This course is a survey course that covers many diverse topics in limited detail. Due to local circumstances, the instructor prepared the course plan without direct contact with the previous instructor of the course. As a result, the author developed the course based on a previous syllabus, previously used textbooks, his industrial experience, and previous teaching experience with sophomore-level engineering students. Student evaluations of his teaching effectiveness the first year were low. The author believed the major problems did not lie with the overall plan for the course, but rather in some of the details covered, and his overestimation of the capabilities of first semester engineering students. While preparing for and teaching the course a second time, the instructor made modifications in several of the details, provided more guidance to the students during the portions of the course that proved to be problem areas, and approached the course with a better understanding of first semester engineering students. The author believes that these changes resulted in a significant improvement in how well the students learned, evidenced by the students' higher evaluation of the instructor's teaching effectiveness (a 36 percentage point increase). This paper discusses the overall plan for the course. It also discusses the problems experienced the first year, the modifications that were made the second year. Finally it discusses the instructor's enhanced understanding of first semester engineering students.

I. Introduction

The course, Introduction to Engineering Design and Graphics, taught at the Pennsylvania State University, is a broad survey course taught to students with different backgrounds usually in their first semester in college. It covers the following general topics: laboratory practices; mechanical stress, strain and the measurement of strain using a wheatstone bridge; circuit building; engineering design projects; report writing; presentation making; traditional mechanical drawing; and an introduction to word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, and CAD packages. Structuring and delivering such a course successfully to freshman students is a challenge. Having taught the course over a two-year span, I believe those challenges involve: balancing the breath of the topics with the appropriate level of detail, ushering the students through design projects when they possess almost no technical engineering knowledge, and delivering the entire course in a coherent, integrated package.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002,American Society for Engineering Education

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Haering, W. (2002, June), Successes And Failures In Teaching A Freshman Level Engineering Design And Graphics Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11121

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