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To Weld or Not to Weld: Evaluation of an Undergraduate Engineering Technology Welding and Fabrication Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Manufacturing Capstone and Design Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1530.1 - 22.1530.15



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Paper Authors


Steven Fleishman Western Washington University

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Steven Fleishman is currently an Assistant Professor at Western Washington University in the Engineering Technology Department, and Vehicle Research Institute. He has more than twenty years of experience in automotive drivetrain R&D, and is currently engaged in a hybrid bus research project with his undergraduate student team and industrial partners.

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To Weld…or not to Weld - Evaluation of an Undergraduate Engineering Technology Welding and Fabrication Course XX – Assistant Professor YY University Department of Engineering Technology At a time when technology continues to accelerate toward computer driven activitieswhich seek to remove the element of human error from tasks such as machining operations,micro-surgery, and vehicle stability control, the question arises as to whether degree grantinginstitutions in the engineering technology and engineering science fields should continue to offercourses of study in the area of welding and hand fabrication. This field of study often conjures upimages of soot-faced blacksmiths hand forging tools and weapons during the medieval ages, orhigh altitude tightrope walkers welding I-beams for skyscraper structures. YY University currently offers a 4-credit course entitled Foundry, Forming and Joining,which is required for Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) and Industrial Technology– CAD/CAM (ITCC) majors. It is also planned as a requirement for the soon-to-be revisedVehicle Engineering Technology (VET) program. The course presently focuses on multiplewelding process technologies, including Gas, SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, gas and plasma cutting,as well as practical fabrication projects, project management topics, and foundry processes,which include dry sand and green sand casting. In response to comments provided by ourindustrial advisory committee in regards to the content and depth of coverage currently includedin this course, the Engineering Technology (ETEC) Department has requested an evaluation ofthe curriculum in relation to technology relevancy, industrial application, and overall content.One side of the discussion favors increasing content, but decreasing depth of coverage andassociated hands-on lab activities, providing a survey type course, with direction of studentstoward technical trade institutions for enhanced skills development. The other perspective looksto decrease current content, separating major focus areas into individual courses, and increasehands-on lab activities to allow for a deeper dive into critical areas, with more hands-on lab time. This paper will focus on benchmarking similar course offerings from a representativesample of engineering technology and engineering science undergraduate degree-grantinginstitutions, evaluating industry and student perceived needs for experience in this area of study,as well as an attempt at evaluating alumni utilization of skills in the field. Discussion will alsoinclude coverage of the desired course outcomes, challenges associated with maintaining thishighly labor-intensive and consumables-intensive course, as well as optimized course structureand enrollment based on the analysis conducted herein. The goals of this paper are to provide information for institutions engaged in similarsituations concerning proposed curriculum change, to assist those that are contemplating addinga welding and fabrication course to their programs, and to provide program administrators with amore clear understanding of the level of activity associated with this type of course.

Fleishman, S. (2011, June), To Weld or Not to Weld: Evaluation of an Undergraduate Engineering Technology Welding and Fabrication Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18619

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