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The Integration Of Hands On Team Projects Into An Engineering Course To Help Students Make The Transition From Student To Professional Engineer

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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

ABET Issues and Capstone Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1297.1 - 10.1297.8



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Paper Authors

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Gregory Davis

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Craig Hoff

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


The Integration of Hands-on Team Projects into an Engineering Course to Help Students Make the Transition from Student to Professional Engineer

Craig J. Hoff, and Gregory W. Davis, Kettering University

There is considerable concern that current engineering education practices do not adequately prepare students for the practice of engineering. This statement goes far beyond the often stated requirements that to be successful in their careers engineering graduates must have good communication skills, must be able to work in multidisciplinary teams, etc. There is a fundamental disconnect between how engineering professionals operate and how engineering students are taught. This paper describes a technical elective course, Introduction to Automotive Powertrains, which is designed to bridge the gap between ‘engineering student’ and ‘engineering professional.’ Furthermore, it is shown that the professionally-oriented approach that was used to develop this course is an excellent approach for addressing many of the program outcomes specified by ABET Criterion 3.


Starting in the early 1960s, engineering education shifted away from engineering practice and more towards engineering science. Before this, engineering programs typically were five year programs with a focus on applications and applied design. Declining enrollments forced universities to reduce program length. In order to accomplish this, many programs reduced application oriented courses and laboratories.1 This shift has resulted in an increasing gap between what engineers are expected to know and how they are to perform in industry, and what universities are teaching.2 Engineers in industry spend much time working on complex system integration, yet few engineering graduates understand this process.3 Reference 2 adds “the state of education in this country, especially in science, engineering and technology, has become a matter of increasing concern to many of us in American industry.”

In order to meet the professional needs of industry, engineering educators must place a renewed emphasis on teaching the practice of engineering. In order to teach the practice of engineering, students must be challenged to study the complex interactions of real engineering systems. Further, students must be exposed to professional standards and organizations, governmental regulations, team dynamics, current and future trends and societal concerns. In short, students must be afforded the opportunity to practice engineering, learning how to apply the underlying scientific principles to the design of these systems. Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Davis, G., & Hoff, C. (2005, June), The Integration Of Hands On Team Projects Into An Engineering Course To Help Students Make The Transition From Student To Professional Engineer Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14841

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