June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1433.1 - 12.1433.13
The Impact on Students of Freshman Design Projects Supporting Advanced Courses
Abstract The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) identifies design as an important element of the engineering curriculum. The faculty at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) believes the concepts and principles of design are as fundamental to undergraduate engineering education as are those tools and topics traditionally thought as fundamental (such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, statics, and dynamics). The faculty also believes, as supported in the literature, that getting engineering students involved in hands-on projects early in their academic career motivates students and aids in retention. This paper describes the process and outcomes of using Project-Based Learning, specifically hands-on design projects supporting upper level course work, in the freshman design course. Student motivation and learning are discussed as well as specific project outcomes.
Introduction The Engineering program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) recently redesigned its freshman introduction to engineering design course (IED) to use Project-Based Learning (PBL) to excite students to independently learn, to create an environment for peer learning, and to increase student in-class and out of class participation. It is believed that these objectives are instrumental for exciting students about engineering, for increasing student retention, for motivating learning, and for improving students’ knowledge transfer capabilities especially in the application of engineering design.2,3,6
As a part of the PBL emphasis the IED course structure now culminates in customer supported student design projects. Some of the project customers are instructors of sophomore, junior, or senior level courses. To solicit these projects, the IED course instructors distribute a call for project proposals to the faculty and staff of the UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). Interested instructors submit the two page proposal which is reviewed for applicability to freshmen design and technical knowledge (many of the students have not yet taken any other engineering course). The instructors know to constrain the projects so they can be completed in seven weeks but to make them complex enough to have a variety of solutions to allow the students to participate in decision making. Students model their final solutions using 3D software and fabricate them in the College’s machine shop.
At present one to four projects each semester support either upper level courses or upper level design team projects. To develop the knowledge needed to successfully experience the design process and to develop successful designs for these projects, students are introduced to technical theory and applications associated with the advanced courses (through the sponsoring faculty). The initial review of student reaction to the completion of these projects caused the sponsoring faculty and course instructor to examine the role of these projects in exciting students about engineering and motivating their learning.
Wigal, C., & Fomunung, I., & Foster, E., & Goulet, R. (2007, June), The Impact On Students Of Freshman Design Projects Supporting Advanced Courses Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2494
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