June 16, 2002
June 16, 2002
June 19, 2002
7.1311.1 - 7.1311.6
Main Menu Session 2559
What to Introduce in Introduction to Engineering?
Fahmida Masoom, Abulkhair Masoom University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Approximately a decade ago, engineering educators at several institutions began introducing the concept of a freshman engineering or introduction to engineering course. Today there is hardly any undergraduate engineering program that does not require the freshman student to take such a course. With its large undergraduate engineering program the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-Platteville) now offers 12-15 sections of a similar course entitled Introduction to Engineering every fall semester. Earlier assessments indicated that the course was generally well received, and several key issues were addressed. The issue at hand now, is the content of the course. Because of the wide range of background in math, science, and computing of our freshmen group, it is a challenge for any instructor to go in depth on any engineering concept without running the risk of losing those at the lower competency level and at the same time keeping the course interesting and challenging for those who are well into the advanced sequence. Faculty with varied backgrounds teaching the course are grappling to find innovative ways to fulfill the main objectives of the course, viz., retention, offer a better understanding of engineering disciplines, and prepare students well for the intended course of study. Nine years after the first offering of this course, it is time to reflect on what t his course has accomplished, and the dilemmas faced by the instructors.
Towards the end of the 1980s, engineering educators around the country began to tackle the issue of large attrition rates in undergraduate engineering programs by introducing the concept of a freshman engineering or introduction to engineering course. The idea was to teach basic college survival skills to incoming freshmen and introduce them to the different fields of engineering in order to help them make an informed choice about their future career path. Since this problem was common to most undergraduate engineering programs nationwide, this new teaching concept caught on very quickly and spread like wildfire across the nation=s engineering schools. Today there is hardly any undergraduate engineering program that does not require the freshman engineering student to take such a course. UW-Platteville also joined the trend in the early 1990's. Initially, a pilot one-credit course was offered to one section of 40 students. It was well received among students and faculty alike. After much discussion and review, the three-credit Engineering Methods course which involved computer programming was dropped and in its place a two-credit Introduction to Engineering course was designed and offered to freshmen. With its large undergraduate engineering program, every fall semester, 12-15 sections of this course with an enrollment cap of 30 students are offered. Faculty from all engineering majors having varied
Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 8 2002, American Society for Engineering Education
Masoom, F., & Masoom, A. (2002, June), What To Introduce In Introduction To Engineering Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. https://peer.asee.org/10146
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