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The Role of Project-based learning in first year engineering

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2023 Fall Mid Atlantic Conference: Meeting our students where they are and getting them where they need to be


Ewing, New Jersey

Publication Date

October 27, 2023

Start Date

October 27, 2023

End Date

January 10, 2024

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PS Dhanasekaran State University of New York, Canton

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Dr PS (Puttagounder Dhanasekaran Swaminathan) has a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. He is currently working as an Associate professor, at SUNY Canton, NY. He has taught, CAD/CAM, FEA, Machine design, Statics, Strength of Materials, and various courses on materials and materials selection, for both undergraduate and graduate programs. He also authored and co-authored a textbook chapter and research papers on the machining of composites. He has diverse industrial experience of 27 years, in the design, research, and manufacturing of electro-mechanical systems, such as the design of various types of gear and gearboxes, antennas, and light and heavy fabricated structures, for communication, TV telecasts, natural disasters management, and Telemedicine application. Dr PS, designed and manufactured various types of antenna weighing from 200 pounds to 100,000 pounds. He was also actively involved in configuring the antenna controls and selection of motor and motor controllers. Dr. PS has advised senior/capstone projects over 5 years. Has reviewed papers for ASEE, SAMPE, ASME, and SME.

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The integration of professional competencies into the curriculum, which accompaniment the technical expertise of engineers, is a prevailing worldwide trend in education. Consequently, it is imperative that every engineering program makes it a primary objective to provide engineering students with opportunities and learning settings that nurture the growth of professional skills as an integral component of their formal education right from the start, ensuring consistency and effectiveness. Educating engineers presents a formidable challenge, mainly due to the extensive requirements of modern engineering programs, which encompass instruction in mathematics, science, communications, project management, and design. Furthermore, there is a range of additional skills essential for engineering professionals, including teamwork and effective communication, fostering creativity and design capabilities, as well as the ability to adapt and thrive in dynamic working environments that undergo constant change. The primary goal of the chosen instructional approach was to enhance student engagement and retention among freshmen by providing them with a practical, hands-on engineering design experience. It is now widely acknowledged that improving the retention rates of engineering students can be achieved by incorporating introductory engineering courses alongside the traditional math and science classes within the first-year engineering curriculum. Engineering faculty members who are dedicated to educational reform have recognized that passive lecture-based instruction should be replaced with active, integrative, project-based learning. Design plays a pivotal role in engineering education as it bridges both engineering and design disciplines, fostering collaboration in multidisciplinary teams. Project-based learning stands out as one of the most effective approaches for cultivating these skills. This teaching method enhances student engagement and empowers them to apply their freshly acquired skills to real engineering challenges. This review paper aims to delve into the impact of project-based learning in the first year of engineering education, highlighting its role in transforming traditional teaching methods and equipping students with the practical skills and problem-solving abilities crucial for success in the engineering field.

Dhanasekaran, P. (2023, October), The Role of Project-based learning in first year engineering Paper presented at 2023 Fall Mid Atlantic Conference: Meeting our students where they are and getting them where they need to be, Ewing, New Jersey. 10.18260/1-2--45129

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