June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Educational Research and Methods
11.1316.1 - 11.1316.30
The Parallel Curriculum Model:
Understanding Engineering Education Innovations to Optimize Student Learning
Past ASEE conferences have presented great ideas for teaching engineering. However, all these innovations lack a way to see how they affect the overall education of engineering students. Traditionalists are left wondering if the new ideas are diluting students’ understanding of core engineering and scientific principles. Innovators walk a thin line between educating their students and simply training their students in the simulated “real life” design situations.
Just as innovation in engineering needs well-specified parameters to define the problem and evaluate the results, educational innovations require the same. The Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM) provides a comprehensive format for designing curriculum around key components such as content, assessment, teaching strategies, learning activities, products, resources, and ascending levels of intellectual demand. The most salient feature of PCM rests in the multiple curricular configurations that result from the use of four interrelated and parallel designs for organizing curriculum: Core, Practice, Connections, and Identity. The four parallels offer opportunities to optimize student learning through the creation of a curriculum that is more meaningful, powerful, and engaging in the education of confident and competent engineering professionals. Projects presented at past ASEE conferences are innovative because they address specific parallels, thus fleshing out a student’s overall education. The PCM not only offers a way to see education as a whole, so as to identify the gaps, but also a way to assess and evaluate the effects of innovation on a student’s entire engineering education.
PCM addresses many topics outlined by the Educational Research and Methods Division (ERM) including active and cooperative learning, integrated and non- traditional curricula, life-long learning, new learning models and applications, and the art and science of teaching. This paper explains PCM and how it relates to engineering education, analyzes selected ASEE presentations in relationship to the four parallels, and illustrates how PCM integrates key curriculum components and the four interrelated parallels to create innovative curricular designs in engineering education.
1.1 Motivation Recent presentations at ASEE conferences showcase innovative courses and projects in engineering programs across the country. These presentations are inspirational for those interested in revising or enhancing their individual courses, departmental curriculum, or engineering program.
Ng, Y., & Maxfield, L. (2006, June), The Parallel Curriculum Model: Understanding Engineering Educational Innovations To Optimize Student Learning Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--92
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