Active/Collaborative Learning Student Teams Integrating Technology Effectively Women and Minorities Assessment and Evaluation EC2000 Emerging Technology Foundation Coalition Curricula Concept Inventories
 
 
 
 
 
A Unified Framework for Engineering Science: Principles and Sample Curricula
 

Sophomore Engineering Curricula
Introduction  Conservation and Accounting Framework Curriculum Structure: Texas A&M four-course structure Curriculum Structure: Texas A&M Five-Course Structure
Curriculum Structure: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Sophomore Engineering Curriculum Example Problems

Student Performance/Faculty Reactions

Conclusions

 

Texas A&M Four Course Structure

One of the goals of the four course engineering science core curriculum was to produce students who were better prepared for more challenging material. One of the measures that was to assess student performance on more challenging material was the student’s grade point average (GPA) in subsequent engineering classes. Table 5 shows the average GPA each semester both for students who participated in the four-course curriculum and student in a comparison group for the years 1989 and 1990. Numbers in bold are the grades in the sophomore year, these grades for the Core group were effectively the only grades determined by the faculty involved in the four-course core curriculum.

TABLE 5: Cumulative GPAs for Core and Comparison Groups

Students in 1989:

                        End of:

  Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring  
  1989 1990 1990 1991 1991 1992 1992 1993  
Core 3.56 3.44 3.45 3.50 3.49  3.47 3.49 3.48 3.51
 Comp  3.40 3.42 3.41  3.41 3.38 3.37 3.36 3.25 3.27

Students in 1990:

            End of:

  Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall
  1990 1991 1991 1992 1992 1993 1993
Core 3.24  3.05     3.05  3.07  3.09  3.09  3.12 
 Comp  3.24  3.05 3.03  2.98  2.99 2.99  3.00

The GPA of the students who participated in the four-course core curriculum dropped somewhat during their core experience but it increased after completion of the core curriculum.  For students in the comparison group, their GPA remained constant during the sophomore year, but dropped after their sophomore year.  The GPA data shows that participation in the core curriculum has a positive impact on GPA performance after the completion of the core curriculum.

As another measure of performance on challenging problems after completion of the core curriculum, faculty gave a portion of the Fundamentals of Engineering examination to students who participated in the core curriculum as another comparison group with similar population statistics of GPA and SAT scores. The mean score and standard deviations for the two populations were (Core =0.561, 0.163) and (Control = 0.495, 0.125). The data showed that the core group performed better on the portion of the FOE examination. A comparable gain on the actual FOE would raise a student from the 50th percentile to about the 60th percentile.

As a third measure of performance on challenging problems, faculty prepared three achievement tests: Statics, Dynamics, and Thermodynamics, and offered them to students who participated in the core curriculum in 1991-92. Faculty offered one test at the end of their first sophomore semester, and offered the other two at the end of their second sophomore semester. They were compared against comparison groups who had completed similar course material from the traditional curriculum. The exam coverage, mean, standard deviations and population sizes for these exams were:

TABLE 6: Performance on Engineering Science Achievement Examinations

Engineering Science

Achievement Examination

Core Group

Comparison Group

Aver.

Stand.

Dev.

Pop.

Size

Aver

Stand.

Dev.

Pop.

Size

Static

0.65

0.06

78

0.78

0.06

173

Dynamics

0.51

0.08

78

0.35

0.08

93

Thermodynamics

0.66

0.07

78

0.57

0.07

165

Average performance of the core group was superior to the comparison group on the dynamics and thermodynamics examinations, but was inferior on the statics examinations.  The thermodynamics comparisons are significant because the control students were well into their junior years and have had more engineering courses than the core students, yet the core students greatly outperformed the control.  However, it appears that the additional practice on statics problems by students comparison group resulted in superior performance in this engineering science.

In the spring, another four tests were constructed and given to the core and new control groups. The spring exams covered Strength of Materials, Dynamics, Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics. The results were: Strength (Core 0.33, 0.20 n=62), (Control Alpha 0.30, 0.17 n=43) (Control Beta 0.57, 0.20 n=34); Dynamics (Core 0.65, 0.31 n=62), (Control Alpha 0.46, 0.26 n=43), (Control Beta 0.60, 0.24 n=34); Thermo (Core 0.60, 0.20 n=62), (Control Gamma 0.53, 0.14 n=98); Fluids (Core 0.33, 0.18 n=62), (Control Delta 0.35, 0.22 n=107).

Core faculty did increase statics and strength of materials content following this analysis, and new testing in Spring of 1994 provided data to determine that the curriculum change was successful with respect to that content.

       Since materials science had not yet been compared, the 1992 cohort compared this performance. As usual the control group was taken from students studying a similar topic in the traditional curriculum. This time the instructor of the control student’s traditional class made up the exam. Results were: (Core 0.52, 0.18), (Control 0.27, 0.20).

 

References

  1. Grinter, L.E. (Chair), Report on Evaluation of Engineering Education, American Society for Engineering Education, Washington, DC, 1955.
  2.   Harris, Eugene M. DeLoatch, William R. Grogan, Irene C. Peden, and John R. Whinnery, "Journal of Engineering Education Round Table: Reflections on the Grinter Report," Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 69-94 (1994) (includes as an Appendix the Grinter Report, issued in September, 1955).
  3. Glover, Charles, J., and Carl A. Erdman, "Overview of the Texas A&M/NSF Engineering Core Curriculum Development," Proceedings, 1992 Frontiers in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, 11-14 November 1992, pp. 363-367
  4. Glover, Charles J., K. M. Lunsford, and John A. Fleming, “TAMU/NSF Engineering Core Curriculum Course 1: Conservation Principles in Engineering,” Proceedings, 1992 Frontiers in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, 11-14 November 1992, pp. 603-608
  5. Glover, Charles J., K. M. Lunsford, and John A. Fleming, Conservation Principles and the Structure of Engineering, 3rd edition, New York: McGraw-Hill College Custom Series, 1992
  6. Pollock, Thomas C., “TAMU/NSF Engineering Core Curriculum Course 2: Properties of Matter,” Proceedings, 1992 Frontiers in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, 11-14 November 1992, pp. 609-613
  7. Pollock, Thomas C., Properties of Matter, 3rd edition, New York: McGraw-Hill College Custom Series, 1992
  8. Everett, Louis J., “TAMU/NSF Engineering Core Curriculum Course 3: Understanding Engineering via Conservation,” Proceedings, 1992 Frontiers in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, 11-14 November 1992, pp. 614-619
  9. Everett, Louis J., Understanding Engineering Systems via Conservation, 2nd edition, New York: McGraw-Hill College Custom Series, 1992
  10. Glover, Charles J. and H. L. Jones, “TAMU/NSF Engineering Core Curriculum Course 4: Conservation Principles for Continuous Media,” Proceedings, 1992 Frontiers in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, 11-14 November 1992 Conference, pp. 620-624
  11. Glover, C. J. and H. L. Jones, Conservation Principles for Continuous Media, 2nd edition, New York: McGraw-Hill College Custom Series, 1992
  12. Erdman, Carl A., Charles J. Glover, and V. L. Willson, “Curriculum Change: Acceptance and Dissemination,” Proceedings, 1992 Frontiers in Education Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, 11-14 November 1992, pp. 368-372
  13. B. A. Black, “From Conservation to Kirchoff: Getting Started in Circuits with Conservation and Accounting,” Proceedings of the 1996 Frontiers in Education Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 6-9 November 1996
  14. Griffin, Richard B., Louis J. Everett, P. Keating, Dimitris C. Lagoudas, E. Tebeaux, D. Parker, William Bassichis, and David Barrow, "Planning the Texas A&M University College of Engineering Sophomore Year Integrated Curriculum," Fourth World Conference on Engineering Education, St. Paul, Minnesota, October 1995, vol. 1, pp. 228-232.
  15. Everett, Louis J., "Experiences in the Integrated Sophomore Year of the Foundation Coalition at Texas A&M," Proceedings, 1996 ASEE National Conference, Washington, DC, June 1996
  16. Richards, Donald E., Gloria J. Rogers, "A New Sophomore Engineering Curriculum -- The First Year Experience," Proceedings, 1996 Frontiers in Education Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 6-9 November 1996
  17. Heenan, William and Robert McLaughlan, "Development of an Integrated Sophomore Year Curriculum,” Proceedings of the 1996 Frontiers in Education Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 6-9 November 1996
  18. Mashburn, Brent, Barry Monk, Robert Smith, Tan-Yu Lee, and Jon Bredeson, "Experiences with a New Engineering Sophomore Year,” Proceedings of the 1996 Frontiers in Education Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 6-9 November 1996
  19. Everett, Louis J., "Dynamics as a Process, Helping Undergraduates Understand Design and Analysis of Dynamics Systems," Proceedings, 1997 ASEE National Conference,
  20. Doering, E., “Electronics Lab Bench in a Laptop: Using Electronics Workbench to Enhance Learning in an Introductory Circuits Course,” Proceedings of the 1997 Frontiers in Education Conference, November 1997
  21. Cornwell, P., and J. Fine, “Mechanics in the Rose-Hulman Foundation Coalition Sophomore Curriculum,” Proceedings of the Workshop on Reform of Undergraduate Mechanics Education, Penn State, 16-18 August 1998
  22. Cornwell, P., and J. Fine, “Mechanics in the Rose-Hulman Foundation Coalition Sophomore Curriculum,” to appear in the International Journal of Engineering Education
  23. Cornwell, P. and J. Fine, “Integrating Dynamics throughout the Sophomore Year,” Proceeedings, 1999 ASEE Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, 20-23 June 1999
  24. Burkhardt, H. "System physics: A uniform approach to the branches of classical physics." Am. J. Phys. 55 (4), April 1987, pp. 344–350.
  25. Fuchs, Hans U. Dynamics of Heat. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1996.

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