June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Educational Research and Methods
13.1362.1 - 13.1362.24
Using the Design Paradigm as a Strategy for Curriculum Enhancement
Revisions in the criteria for accreditation of engineering programs by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), especially with regard to Criterion 3: Program Outcomes and Assessment, have the potential to significantly enhance engineering education. Several factors may inhibit these revisions from reaching this potential. Among these are the tendency of faculty to view assessment as means to the end of obtaining ABET accreditation and the recent tendency to view students as customers within a continuous quality improvement (CQI) paradigm. While neither viewpoint is entirely incorrect, when these perspectives dominate curriculum review, many of the advantages of true curricular assessment and quality improvement are lost. We believe it to be more advantageous to regard students as products within an engineering design and manufacturing paradigm when developing assessment and improvement processes for curricula.
In this paper, we will show how we have used the engineering design paradigm, coupled with ABET requirements, to develop an assessment and feedback approach that maps performance criteria in such a manner as to allow timely intervention at an individual student as well as programmatic level. We will demonstrate how to decompose student learning outcomes into performance criteria at a resolution geared for intervention rather than just assessment. Finally, we will describe a Web-based knowledge management system called AEFIS (Academic Evaluation, Feedback and Intervention System) which manages the data in such a way as to maximize the ability to provide continuous quality improvement while minimizing additional faculty labor.
‘Is this going to be on the test?’ is a question faculty instructors often hear from students, usually asked with the hope of a negative response. It is also one of those questions which most instructors would rather avoid, implying as it does that the student has accepted learning as simply a means to passing tests for gaining a good GPA, and has forsaken a broader understanding of education. Consequently, one should learn as little as required and not waste time on items not being directly tested. Considered in this light, the student’s question makes perfect sense. From the faculty perspective, examinations are mechanisms of evaluating student progress towards the ultimate goals of obtaining knowledge, skills and wisdom. If only, faculty often lament, students would focus their attention on the real goal of learning the material, good GPAs would result as a natural consequence. Thus, students would both achieve the learning outcomes set by the faculty and a good GPA simultaneously.
Ironically, faculty who deal with this problem of student perspectives on an ongoing basis often seem to consider the issues of continuous quality improvement (CQI), assessment and accreditation from the same attitude as the student described above. Rather than approach the
McEachron, D., & Allen, F., & Papazoglou, E., & Sualp, M. (2008, June), Using The Design Paradigm As A Strategy For Curriculum Enhancement Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4248
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