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Tapping Hidden Talent

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

K-12 Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1193.1 - 10.1193.12



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Paper Authors

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Ronald Rorrer

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Richard Sanders

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Daniel Knight

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

Tapping Hidden Talent

Ronald A. L. Rorrer1, Daniel Knight2, Richard Sanders3 1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center/2Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, University of Colorado at Boulder/3Department of Music and Entertainment Industry Studies, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center


We have developed a summer program intended to tap the talent of high school students who have the capability to succeed in college, but are currently not on a college bound path. The courses in the program consist of a merging of arts and media with engineering. The courses rely on a combination of lecture, hands-on class work, and predominately a project which requires significant student effort and time. Students are eligible to attend the courses during the summers following their sophomore, junior, and senior years.

To date we have offered two courses entitled “The Science of Guitars” and “Introduction to Musical Recording.” In The Science of Guitars course, students learn about playing the guitar as well as the physics behind acoustics, vibrations, and electronic amplification. The attraction of the course is that each student constructs an electric guitar from a kit which they own at the end of the course. In the Introduction to Music Recording course, the students learn about running a music recording business and the technical aspects of music recording. In this course the project is focused on recording bands and then sweetening the original tracks into finished CD tracks. There are other courses planned that would appeal to a wider student demographic.

One goal of the program is to tailor courses to the students and their interests, not tailor the students to the courses. Additionally, we want to show students that their interests can be turned to an academic path and also future careers, albeit not necessarily as lead guitarists in death metal bands! Often as academicians, whether at the secondary or post-secondary level, we inherently push career paths that can be labeled traditional, as opposed to the myriad of non- traditional career offshoots that exist relative to every field of study.

Both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods were used to evaluate the program on its stated goals and objectives. Quantitative methods included pre- and post course content testing and attitude surveys as well as a learning styles assessment. Qualitative methods included mid and post course student focus groups and post course staff interviews. Assessment results were documented and presented at a year-end debrief and evaluation meeting. These results will be discussed in the paper.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Rorrer, R., & Sanders, R., & Knight, D. (2005, June), Tapping Hidden Talent Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15531

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