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Time Allocation Scaffolding in Project-based Learning Curriculum

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Design Cognition II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1359.1 - 25.1359.8



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Paper Authors


Cyrus Habibi P.E. Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Currently, Mohammad Habibi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Engineering at the Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU), working with the Iron Range Engineering (IRE) Program. The IRE program, created and directed by MNSU and Itasca Community College, is a 100% project-based learning model. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in electrical engineering and worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin from 2010 to 2011. He has more than 10 years of engineering experience worked in industry sector and more than five years of teaching experience in university.

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Ronald R. Ulseth Itasca Community College

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Iron Range Engineering

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Time allocation scaffolding in Project-Based Learning CurriculumA new model for engineering education has been funded and began delivery in January 2010.This model is a Project-Based-Learning (PBL) program in which students work with industry ondesign projects with a focus on producing graduates with integrated technical/professionalknowledge and competencies. Students are upper-division engineering students who are mostlygraduates of community colleges.Students do not take classes. 100% of their learning is done in the context of the industryprojects. Their degree will be a B.S. in Engineering with emphases along a spectrum betweenwhat might be traditionally called mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. This is aprogram aimed at breaking down silos and preparing engineers who are “able to understandissues that transcend disciplinary boundaries and able to offer effective solutions”.This model is a 50 hour per week experience in an engineering-type office setting where studentslearn engineering design through actual practice managing engineering projects for industryclients. Students manage the acquisition of their technical competencies by learning andapplying the engineering core concepts in context with their design. 25 hours per week arededicated to design execution and 25 hours to technical learning with much synergy between thetwo.Since the publication of Engineer 2020 (and before) there have been numerous calls for a new-look graduating engineer. With guidance from some of the most respected leaders inengineering education, this model has been developed to utilize industry-based PBL for design,outcome-based assessment, just-in-time interventions, self-directed learning, and emphasis onreflection.In this program, students transfer into the curriculum with 68 credits and complete an additional60 credits consisting of 32 technical and 28 professional/ design credits. Students take 8technical credits per semester and develop their own learning objectives without taking anyformal classes. In former versions of curriculum, students were required to submit alldeliverables including final oral exams by the end of semester. Students had great difficultymanaging all aspects of their learning objectives with these un-scaffolded schedules. Recently, anew method of time allocation scaffolding that helps students to use their time more efficientlyhas been implemented. In this novel method, students are given a designed timetable tocomplete their self-directed competencies in sequence rather than all at once at the end of asemester. In this paper, we describe the time-allocation scaffolding for self-directed learning oftechnical competencies in a completely PBL curriculum and report on the results.

Habibi, C., & Ulseth, R. R. (2012, June), Time Allocation Scaffolding in Project-based Learning Curriculum Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22116

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