Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Electrical and Computer
This work in progress shares the story of a multifaceted faculty team that is working creatively and collaboratively to transform the learning environment in an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department. Armed with a five-year RED (REvolutionizing engineering and computer science Departments) grant from the National Science Foundation, this paper describes the strategy and process that motivated ECE faculty to throw away the course-centric teaching model to create a new generation of diverse, well-rounded engineers.
It is well understood that people generally resist the idea of change. This is especially true for faculty in an academic department such as ECE that encourages independence and rewards entrepreneurialism. This paper describes how ECE faculty rallied around a shared vision to build a culture of collaboration, despite the barriers inherent in their discipline and in higher education.
In the new teaching and learning model, faculty are working together to approach the degree from a holistic perspective. Instead of teaching core material in unconnected pieces through a set of disparate courses, faculty are teaming up to synchronize content and adapt their teaching practices to show students the connections between fundamental ECE topics across the curriculum. Aiming to hook students' interest earlier in the program and build an inclusive environment for individuals of all backgrounds, the new approach facilitates knowledge integration and ensures students gain a big picture understanding of the discipline.
While working as a team to foster learning might seem like a basic concept, it is not the norm for faculty in most engineering departments. From redefining faculty roles to meticulous project management, this paper shares the key factors that enabled collaboration and inspired a shift in the department culture. In addition to discussing lessons learned as a result of breaking down the course “silos,” it highlights the importance of identifying the right people to spearhead the project, as well as tactics and incentives for gaining buy-in from others.
Striving to be a change agent for engineering and computer science education, the department seeks feedback from the engineering community on how to improve the project and influence institutions across the country to adopt its novel approach.
Maciejewski, A. A., & Chen, T., & Byrne, Z. S., & Reese, M. D., & Notaros, B. M., & Pezeshki, A., & Roy, S., & Leland, A. M., & Sample McMeeking, L. B., & Siller, T. J. (2018, June), Throwing Away the Course-centric Teaching Model to Enable Change Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31142
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