July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
In summer 2020, faculty in the College of Engineering at ____ University developed and implemented a virtual Summer Bridge Program (SBP). The primary objective of the SBP was to improve academic motivation and retention of underclassmen and transfer students in our college by implementing a program of high-impact enrichment activities as a co-curricular summer activity. The outcomes of the program were evaluated through pre- and post-surveys obtained from participants. The participants recruited for the SBP were underclassmen engineering or computer science majors from our College of Engineering, current STEM students from area community colleges, and students transferring from area community colleges to the College of Engineering at _____ University. Two-thirds of the student participants were Hispanic, a level that is similar to the ethnic makeup of the undergraduate population at _____ University. Fifteen of the student participants were female (roughly 40 percent), which is greater than the level of females in the undergraduate population in engineering at _____ University. The SBP was implemented as a 3-week virtual program conducted via 2-hour daily online meetings, which included a 1-day simplistic engineering challenge and a design project conducted over a 2-½ week period. Both the design project and 1-day challenge were conducted with teams using a virtual environment. The SBP also provided general topic engineering lectures by faculty and talks on engineering careers from invited seasoned engineers and recent graduates. The first hands-on activity was a brief introductory engineering challenge conducted with virtual teams on the second day of the SBP. Teams were formed based upon discipline, although some team members were placed outside their field to accommodate the program size. The challenge included topics such as “toxic popcorn challenge,” “tall tower challenge,” and “marshmallow challenge,” from the IEEE website tryengineering.org. The second hands-on activity was a team-based engineering analysis or design project conducted virtually by the student teams. The projects included municipal water supply and demand analyses for chemical engineering students, app-based game programming for electrical engineering and computer science students, truss bridge design and analysis for civil and architectural engineering students, and plastic part design and 3-D printing for mechanical engineering students. The pre- and post-participation survey data indicated a statistically significant increase in the mean for responses to all of 21 survey questions related to the content of the SBP. Thirty-four of 37 respondents to the surveys indicated an overall rating of very good or excellent for the program. The participants also reported high mean scores for an increased awareness of engineering opportunities (8.83/10), increased interest in engineering (8.69/10) and receiving information relevant to career decisions (8.46/10). The most common response from participants regarding value from the program was that the group activity was the most valuable element of the SBP. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Alexander, M. L., & Bailey, B. M. W., & Mogiligidda, R. R., & Hosur, M., & Hicks, D., & Preuss, M. (2021, July), WIP: Hands-On Learning in a Summer Bridge Program Targeting Underclassmen and Transfer Students at an HSI Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38063
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