Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
A new software-assisted, project-based technical elective course and its associated laboratory (BEELab) in building energy efficiency and green building design has been developed and implemented. The primary goals of this project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), are to engage mechanical engineering students in the learning process and to make them prepared for the workforce in building-related fields. Distinctive elements that differentiate this elective course from traditional elective courses are: (a) incorporating applied software training and (b) making the course experiential and project-based (c) enhancing students’ interaction with the related industry through guest speaker and field trip. The course was implemented for the first time in Fall 2016 in a minority serving university. The data to evaluate the success level of the project was collected via: (a) pre- and post-implementation interviews, (b) classroom observations, (c) student focus groups, and (d) pre- and post-implementation student surveys. Student survey responses at the end of the semester indicated that the use of, and exposure to, the engineering software was the highest ranked class feature/activity in terms of the value added to the elective course. Furthermore, during the focus group, students mentioned that their work with the simulation software helped them make a connection to the energy efficiency concepts they had been learning. The feedback on the BEELab was overwhelmingly positive. According to the survey and focus group data, overall, students indicated that they were provided with an opportunity to work with modern, well-designed equipment that should increase their marketability and, ultimately, give them an advantage in their transition to the workforce. Students provided positive remarks about the field trip. Many students mentioned this as a “real-world connection.” During the focus group, the students stated that they enjoyed the guest speaker and thought she imparted some “real-world” information. They were able to connect her work to what they were learning in the course and current issues like climate change. In three of the ten ABET-required domains, student responses suggest that their abilities improved significantly. Due to the fact that so many students in the class were seniors (and therefore, would be expected to demonstrate many of the technical and non-technical ABET foundational outcomes prior to graduation), it is not surprising that, overall, student reported significant pre- and post-change on only 3 out of 10 items regarding their skills/abilities.
Rayegan, R., & Lewis, K. C. (2018, June), Using Distinctive Student Engagement Elements in a Technical Elective Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31203
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