The following is a list of all publications generated by the Foundation Coalition, listed by author. These documents require the use of the Adobe Acrobat software in order to view their contents.
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- Nikles, D., Cordes, D., Hopenwasser, A., Izatt, J.R., Laurie, C., Parker, J.K., 1995, “A General Chemistry Course Sequence for an Integrated Freshman Year Engineering Curriculum,” Gordon Research Conference, Ventura, California, January 8-13, 1995.
- Izatt, J.R., Cordes, D., Hopenwasser, A., Laurie, C., Parker, J.K., 1995, “An Integrated Freshman Year Engineering Course,” American Association of Physics Teachers Meeting, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, August 7-12, 1995.
- Parker, J.K., Cordes, D., Hopenwasser, A., Izatt, J.R., Laurie, C., Nikles, D., 1995, “Curriculum Integration in the Freshman Year at the University of Alabama - Foundation Coalition Program,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The University of Alabama presented its first set of freshman year courses as part of the NSF sponsored Foundation Coalition during the 1994-1995 academic year. The three major thrust areas of this coalition are: (1) curriculum integration, (2) technology-enabled education, and (3) human interface issues (learning styles, active and cooperative learning). The focus of this paper is on the integration aspects of the freshman year engineering, mathematics, and sciences curriculum.
Most freshman level mathematics, chemistry, and physics courses are taught in isolation from each other. Students respond by "compartmentalizing" their technical knowledge without awareness of the connections between subjects. The traditional "cafeteria" style process for selection of courses further componds the problem. Most engineering programs view the "output" of the freshman math and science courses as the "input" into their courses. Consequently, there is relatively little interaction on the education level between engineering professors and their colleagues in the math and science departments.
As a result, most engineering programs lose many students during the freshman year. Our solution to this problem is an integrated set of courses for all engineering majors in chemistry (CH 131/132), engineering (GES 131/132), mathematics (MA 131/132), and physics (PH 131/132), which must be taken together. The authors of this paper were the instructors for the initial offering of the courses mentioned above. The paper will focus on several specific examples of curriculum integration that have been attempted, along with observations about the success of the program.
The Foundation Coalition consists of the following: Arizona State University, Maricopa Community College District, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, Texas Women's University, The University of Alabama.
- Parker, J.K., Cordes, D., Richardson, J., 1995, “Engineering Design in the Freshman Year at The University of Alabama - Foundation Coalition Program,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: A pair of courses, GES 131 & 132 (Foundations of Engineering I & II), form the two semester engineering component of Foundation Coalition's integrated freshman year at The University of Alabama. These courses replace two existing freshman engineering courses which are devoted to computer programming (FORTRAN) and engineering graphics. In order to present a more realistic and interesting introduction to engineering as a profession, the courses focuses on the engineering design process.
Both courses are organized around four three-week long "design" projects. The projects are selected from a variety of areas, covering the breadth of engineering disciplines taught at UA. The design projects also complement the current subject matter of the integrated math, chemistry, and physics courses. For example, while both physics and chemistry are introducing the ideal gas law, the engineering project involves the design of a CNG (compressed natural gas) tank for an automotive application. Each design project requires a team report, in written and (sometimes) oral form. The students are introduced to a variety of computer tools to aid their presentation of reports, such as word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation packages. Student access to the Internet (for data collection) and e-mail (for communication) is also provided.
This paper provides an in-depth examination of the first of these two courses. It includes a brief overview of the relationships that exist between the integrated courses in the freshman year, a detailed examination of the nature and scope of the design projects included within the course, and feedback from both faculty and students on the merits of the approach.
Cordes, D., Parker, J.K., Hopenwasser, A., Laurie, C., Izatt, J.R., Nikles, D., 1995, “Teaming in Technical Courses,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The University of Alabama is one of seven school participating in the Foundation Coalition, a partnership looking at curriculum integration, human-interface issues (active and cooperative learning), and technology-enabled education within the undergraduate engineering curriculum. As a result, the 1994-1995 academic year saw a completely new curriculum being prototyped for a class of 36 volunteer students within the College.
The curriculum in question provides an integrated 13-hour sequence of Calculus, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering Design for the students. One of the central themes to this sequence is the concept of teams and teaming. Students work in teams of four students throughout this course sequence. These teams operate as a unit for all classes, mathematics recitations, physics and chemistry laboratories, and all engineering design projects.
As this is the first significant, large-scale, curriculum-wide implementation of teaming within the College, a number of strategies for how to proceed were identified (and attempted). Concern was placed on ensuring that students gain both the ability to function effectively within a team environment and also demonstrate their own individual ability to perform the task in question.
This paper examines the processes by which teaming is performed within the integrated freshman year of the Foundation Coalition. It looks at successes that have been realized, and also point out techniques that should not be repeated. The authors summarize their opinions about the strengths (and weaknesses) of the process, as well as identifying the principal ``lessons learned'' for both future semesters of this curriculum and other individuals interested in incorporating teaming into their own courses. In addition, the authors comment on the similarities (and differences) between freshmen students and upper-level engineering students with respect to teams and teaming.
Cordes, D., Parrish, A., 1996, “Active Learning in Technical Courses,” Proceedings of the National Educational Computing Conference.
Abstract: The University of Alabama is one of seven schools participating in the Foundation Coalition, an NSF-sponsored partnership looking at educational reform within the undergraduate engineering curriculum. In addition to active involvement in the Foundation Coalition, the Department has re-structured several of its own undergraduate courses around the lines of cooperative learning and technology-enabled education. This includes the re-design of classrooms as well as a shift in focus from a traditional lecture to more of an active learning environment.
- Parker, J.K., Richardson, J., Cordes, D., 1996, “Problem Solving and Design in the Freshman Year: The Foundation Coalition,” Proceedings of the ASEE Southeastern Section Conference.
Abstract: A pair of courses, GES 131 and 132, form the two semester engineering component of the Foundation Coalition's integrated freshman year at The University of Alabama. The courses use engineering design and problem solving processes to present a more realistic, interesting, and useful introduction to engineering. The overall goals of the Foundation Coalition (curriculum integration, teaming & active learning, technology enabled education) are introduced and developed within the overall framework of problem solving and design.
Each course is organized around several four-weeklong design projects that are integrated with current topical material from the mathematics, chemistry, and physics courses. The design projects give students a taste of real-world engineering and develop the students problem-solving skills. Students use teaming, active learning, and technology extensively in these courses. Details about specific exercises and common student problems are discussed in the paper.
Corleto, C.R., Kimball, J.L., Tipton, A., MacLauchlan, R.A., 1996, “The Foundation Coalition First year Integrated Engineering Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville: Development, Implementation, and Assessment,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: This paper presents a first year integrated engineering curriculum that was implemented at Texas A&M University-Kingsville in the 1995-96 academic year. The curriculum is the result of the efforts by the Foundation Coalition, a National Science Foundation sponsored engineering coalition of 7 institutions around the United States. The goal of the Colaition is to implement curriculum reform in engineering education. In line with the goals of the Foundation Coalition, this curriculum was designed to incorporate changes in four major thrust areas: curriculum integration, technology enabled learning, human interface development, and assessment, evaluation and dissemination. Traditional first year courses in Science, Engineering, Math, and English, have been modified such that topics are delivered based on a predefined sequence which emphasizes basic skills and thematic concepts rather than discipline boundaries, and problem solving strategies, and design. Active learning, or collaborative learning, is also being used in the classroom.
- Richardson, J., Parker, J.K., Cordes, D., 1996, “The Foundation Coalition Freshman Year: Lessons Learned,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Three years ago, mathematics, science, and engineering faculty at the University of Alabama (UA) designed a new set of freshmen courses which integrate science and engineering topics, promote active learning, and incorporate computer tools. The new courses have now gone through two cycles (1994-95 and 1995-96 academic years). The original goals of the new courses are presented followed by discussions of some of the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches.
Cordes, D., Parrish, A., Dixon, B., Borie, R., Jackson, J., Gaughan, P., 1997, “An Integrated First-Year Curriculum for Computer Science and Computer Engineering,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The University of Alabama is an active participant in the NSF-sponsored Foundation Coalition, a partnership of seven institutions who are actively involved in fundamental reform of undergraduate engineering education. As part of this effort, the University of Alabama has developed an integrated first-year curriculum for engineering students. This curriculum consists primarily of an integrated block of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering design. The engineering design course is used as the anchor that ties the other disciplines together.
While this curriculum is highly appropriate (and successful) for most engineering majors, it does not meet the needs of a computer engineering (or computer science) major nearly as well. Recognizing this, the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering recently received funding under NSFs Course and Curriculum Development Program to generate an integrated introduction to the discipline of computing.
The revised curriculum provides a five-hour block of instruction (each semester) in computer hardware, software development, and discrete mathematics. At the end of this three-semester sequence, students will have completed the equivalent of CS I and CS II, a digital logic course, an introductory sequence in computer organization and assembly language, and a discrete mathematics course.
The revised curriculum presents these same materials in an integrated block of instruction. As one simple example, the instruction of basic data types in the software course (encountered early in the freshman year) is accompanied by machine representation of numbers (signed binary, one and twos complement) in the hardware course, and by arithmetic in different bases in the discrete mathematics course. It also integrates cleanly with the Foundation Coalitions freshman year, and provides a block of instruction that focuses directly upon the discipline of computing.
Corleto, C.R., Stewart, J., Tipton, A., 1997, “Evaluation of a First-Year Integrated Engineering Curriculum,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Since fall 1995, the First-Year Integrated Engineering Curriculum (FYIEC) has been offered at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK). This curriculum is the result of the efforts by the Foundation Coalition, an NSF funded engineering coalition, to produce an enduring foundation for student development and life-long learning.
- Gunn, W., Corleto, C.R., Kimball, J.L., 1997, “The Portfolio as a Tool to Evaluate and Assess the Effectiveness of a First-Year Integrated Engineering Curriculum,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: This paper presents the results of using an across-the-curriculum portfolio as one means to assess the effectiveness of the First-Year Integrated Engineering Curriculum (FYIEC) at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Cordes, D., Parrish, A., Dixon, B., Borie, R., Jackson, J., Hale, D., Hale, J., Sharpe, S., 1998, “An Inter-Disciplinary Software Engineering Track Emphasizing Component Engineering,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: This paper describes the establishment of an integrated track in software engineering for three distinct academic disciplines at the University of Alabama: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Management Information Systems. This integrated track focuses on component engineering, and is being developed by a team of faculty from all three programs.
- Al-Holou, N., Bilgutay, N.M., Corleto, C.R., Demel, J.T., Felder, R., Frair, K., Froyd, J.E., Hoit, M., Morgan, J.R., Wells, D.L., 1998, “First-Year Integrated Curricula Across Engineering Education Coalitions,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The National Science Foundation has supported creation of eight engineering education coalitions: Ecsel, Synthesis, Gateway, SUCCEED, Foundation, Greenfield, Academy, and Scceme. One common area of work among these coalitions has been restructuring first-year engineering curricula. Within some of the Coalitions, schools have designed and implemented integrated first-year curricula. The purpose of this paper is to survey the different pilots that have been developed, abstract some design alternatives which can be explored by schools interested in developing an integrated first-year curriculum, indicated some logistical challenges, and present brief descriptions of various curricula along with highlights of the assessment results which have been obtained.
- Richardson, J., Corleto, C.R., Froyd, J.E., Imbrie, P.K., Parker, J.K., Roedel, R.J., 1998, “Freshman Design Projects in the Foundation Coalition,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Many talented engineering students abandon engineering before taking a single engineering course. Herded into large sections of pre-engineering mathematics, chemistry and physics courses, many students prove themselves academically but walk away from engineering, disillusioned. Numerous schools have instituted freshmen engineering courses to retain some of these capable but disinterested students in the engineering program. Freshman engineering courses spark students interest by showing students that engineers communicate, lead, and create as well as analyze. One of the most successful ways of showing first-year students the diversity of skills needed to practice engineering is through freshman design projects.
The authors have each selected three of their favorite freshman design projects (a total of fifteen projects) and posted detailed descriptions on the web (www.foundation.ua.edu/projects). For those interested in learning a little background about the freshman programs in which these projects were used, please read on. This paper provides: a brief description of the freshman programs at each school (the schools are participants in the NSF-sponsored Foundation Coalition), short summaries of each project, and answers to frequently asked questions about freshman design projects.
- Frair, K., Cordes, D., 1998, “Sharing Innovation: The NSF Foundation Coalition,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The Foundation Coalition was funded in 1993 as the fifth coalition in the National Science Foundation's Engineering Education Coalitions Program and is currently in the sixth year of a ten-year project. At the end of the first five-year funding period, the Coalition underwent some restructuring, and now includes Arizona State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, the University of Alabama, the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth, and the University of Wisconsin. All campuses have developed or are developing improved curricula and learning environment models that are based on four thrusts: integration of subject matter within the curriculum, cooperative and active learning, technology-enabled learning, and continuous improvement through assessment and evaluation. A primary objective for the next five years is the sharing of Foundation Coalition-developed innovations with the rest of the engineering education community.
In order to better reach the engineering education community at large, we will establish a Foundation Coalition virtual repository. The repository will provide a database of specific information regarding Foundation Coalition activities. Users can use this repository to quickly and easily identify one or more contact people who are available to provide assistance, advice, and expertise on questions that they might have regarding a Foundation Coalition innovation or activity. It will utilize a web-based search engine that allows people to ask questions such as Where do I find out who could come give a workshop on teaming in upper-division courses? or Who can I talk to about getting under-represented women better involved in our Foundation Coalition -courses? We will track the use of the repository to see what questions people are asking in order to continuously improve our sharing mechanisms.
In addition, we will focus on directed dissemination/sharing through an expanding network of Affiliate campuses, a concept new to the Foundation Coalition. Partner and Affiliate campuses will equally share the responsibility associated with the transfer of Foundation Coalition concepts and ideas.
Affiliate campuses, as members of the Foundation Coalition, are very interested in the directions that the Foundation Coalition has established, but they have not committed to a broad spectrum of curriculum restructuring activities and their institutionalization. Instead, they focus on a narrower set of activities that are most appropriate to their own individual campus. To facilitate exchange between the Foundation Coalition partner campuses and Affiliate campuses, each Affiliate campus will work directly with one specific partner campus. In addition, the partner campus will be responsible for evaluating the performance of its Affiliate campus(es) with respect to their stated goals. Each of the Affiliate campuses has agreed that they will
1) Study, implement, and adopt the Foundation Coalition products and processes that are appropriate to their needs,
2) Provide resources that will enable Affiliate faculty to be able to participate in the study and implementation of Foundation Coalition products and processes,
3) Share the results of their work with the engineering education community, and
4) Participate in Foundation Coalition assessment and evaluation activities to evaluate the effectiveness of their Foundation Coalition programs.
Cordes, D., Parrish, A., Dixon, B., Pimmel, R.L., Jackson, J., Borie, R., 1998, “Teaching an Integrated First-Year Computing Curriculum: Lessons Learned,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: This paper describes an integrated first year curriculum in computing for Computer Science and Computer Engineering students at the University of Alabama. The curriculum is built around the basic thrusts of the Foundation Coalition, and provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of computing for both majors.
- Malave, C.O., Rinehart, J., Morgan, J.R., Caso, R., Yao, J., 1999, “Inclusive Learning Communities at Texas A&M University-A Unique Model for Engineering,” Proceedings of the First Conference on Creating and Sustaining Learning Communities, Tampa, FL, March 10-13.
Abstract: In Gabelnicks, MacGregors, Matthews and Smiths Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty and Disciplines (1990) primer on "Learning Communities" it is acknowledged that the term Learning Communities is "a generic term for a variety of curricular interventions." Gabelnick, et al. approach greater specification with their own working definition of Learning Communities as entities which engage in "purposefully restructuring the curriculum to link together courses or course work so that students find greater coherence in what they are learning as well as increased intellectual interaction with faculty and fellow students." Given that neither the nature of the curriculum restructuring, nor the combination and nature of course and coursework links have been unequivocally circumscribed by these authors or by others who have contributed to the literature, it should not surprise us that the configurations and components of Learning Communities should differ across applications, or that similarly conceived, designed and implemented models should be identified by different names (i.e., learning clusters, triads, federated learning communities, coordinated studies, and integrated studies.)
The Texas A&M University (TAMU) Dwight Look College Of Engineering (COE), has contributed to the profusion of Learning Community model variations and appellations by modifying and vastly expanding its well developed and successful National Science Foundation Coalition freshman program, into a fully institutionalized, universally implemented, freshman engineering program involving over 1100 students, and by adding the word Inclusive (e.g., Inclusive Learning Communities, ILC) to emphasize the importance of diversity, access and constituent ownership to the success of TAMU College of Engineering Learning Communities. TAMU has operationalized its working definition of Inclusive Learning Communities as follows: Fully accessible groupings of students, faculty, and employers with common interests who value diversity, and work collaboratively as partners, to improve the engineering education experience.
TAMU operationalizes Inclusiveness by working to find new and more meaningful ways to include and engage all students, faculty, and industry in the educational process at a broad institutional level. One such way has been to more comprehensively involve industrial participation at all levels. Another way has been to focus on faculty rewards and systematic gathering of faculty feedback. To significantly increase the successful involvement of under-represented groups in the educational process, the COE has adopted an institutional policy of universalizing and enhancing access to programs and interventions which might at one time have been targeted to "special" groups. This same institutionalized commitment to Inclusiveness mandates that the TAMU COE guard against the inadvertent generation of small or exclusive academic groupings in which only a select few students can participate.
This paper and presentation are offered as a framework for an evolving body of knowledge and practical experience. At this time, the framework contains information, representing snapshots of a work-in-progress: the current configuration and evolutionary status of the Inclusive Learning Communities implemented at TAMU in the College of Engineering. Mirroring the constant, reflective metamorphosing which characterizes the TAMU ILCs, the contents of this framework are also likely to have expanded and evolved by the time this presentation is delivered.
Cornwell, P.J., Fine, J.M., 1999, “Integrating Dynamics throughout the Sophomore Year,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: At Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the sophomore year curriculum primarily concentrates on engineering science material that is traditionally covered in courses such as Dynamics, Thermodynamics I, Fluid Mechanics and Circuits I. In the 1995-96 academic year, as part of the NSF sponsored Foundation Coalition, this material was repackaged for several majors into a new sequence of courses called the Sophomore Engineering Curriculum (SEC) where the concepts of conservation and accounting permeate the courses and are used to tie the subjects together. The mechanics material, traditionally taught in a dynamics course, has been distributed throughout the curriculum and is taught in a unified framework with the other engineering science material. From its inception, this curriculum has been required for all electrical engineering majors and computer engineering majors, but in the 1998-1999 academic year this curriculum was required for all mechanical engineering majors as well. Previous assessment results indicated that students taking the new curriculum performed better on a standardized test compared to students who took a traditional dynamics course. In this paper we will discuss how the mechanics material is distributed throughout the year and what difference, if any, there is in the performance of electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering students.
Cordes, D., Evans, D.L., Frair, K., Froyd, J.E., 1999, “The NSF Foundation Coalition: The First Five Years,” Journal of Engineering Education, 88:1, 73-77.
Abstract: The Foundation Coalition was funded in 1993 as the fifth coalition in the National Science Foundation's Engineering Education Coalitions Program. The member institutions-Arizona State University, Maricopa Community College District, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, Texas Woman's University, and the University of Alabama - have developed improved curricula and learning environment models that are based on four primary thrusts: integration of subject matter within the curriculum, cooperative and active learning, technology-enabled learning, and continuous improvement through assessment and evaluation. This paper discusses the first five years of Coalition activities and major accomplishments to date.
Cornwell, P.J., Fine, J.M., 2000, “Mechanics in the Rose-Hulman Foundation Coalition Sophomore Curriculum,” International Journal of Engineering Education, 16:5, 441-446.
Abstract: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology implemented a new sophomore curriculum starting in the 1995?96 academic year. The sophomore year curriculum primarily concentrates on engineering science material that is traditionally covered in courses such as Dynamics, Thermodynamics I, Fluid Mechanics, and Circuits I. At Rose-Hulman this material has been repackaged into a new sequence of courses where the concepts of conservation and accounting permeate the courses. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the mechanics material has been distributed throughout the curriculum and how it is taught in the framework of conservation and accounting. Assessment results will also be presented.
Courter, S.S., Lewis, D., Reeves, J., Eapen, J., Murugesan, N., Sebald, D., 2001, “Aligning Foundation Coalition Core Competencies and Professional Development Opportunities: A University of Wisconsin-Madision Case Study in Preparing a New Generation of Engineers,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Faculty within the Foundation Coalition (FC) are working together to prepare a new generation of engineers by strengthening both undergraduate and graduate students educational foundations and helping them develop core competencies. The coalition links together six institutions: Arizona State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas A & M University, University of Alabama, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth. Partner institutions are diverse in terms of size, age, public/private, student body characteristics, and experience in educational reform, but all share a commitment to the improvement of engineering education. With the goal of student learning in mind, the Foundation Coalition defines core competencies to be the abilities that educators must develop, continuously improve, and use in order to create a new culture of engineering education that is responsive to technological changes and societal needs the FC vision. The core competencies are curriculum integration; cooperative and active learning; utilization of technology-enabled learning; assessment-driven continuous improvement; recruitment, retention, and graduation of women and under-represented minorities; teamwork and collaboration; and management of change. The University of Wisconsin-Madison helps faculty, staff, and teaching assistants develop and use these core competencies in myriad ways.
This paper describes two professional development opportunities at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, College of Engineering: the New Educators Orientation (NEO) and the Teaching Improvement Program (TIP). While NEO introduces the core competencies, each TIP workshop incorporates one or more of the FC competencies. The program director and graduate student cochairs use the competencies to guide workshop selection and design. This paper traces the development of both NEO and TIP; the incorporation of the FC core competencies, vision, mission, student outcomes, and objectives; the impact on curricula as reported on evaluations; lessons learned; and plans for future professional development opportunities. Four case studies illustrate how graduate students, the next generation of engineers, develop the core competencies through professional development opportunities including TIP and NEO.
- Weckman, G.R., MacLauchlan, R.A., Crosby, J., 2001, “An Assessment and Evaluation of an Integrated Engineering Curriculum,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The objective of this paper is to report a comparative analysis of student performance in a Traditional Engineering environment with Foundation Coalition (FC) students over a six year period of time at Texas A&M UniversityKingsville (TAMUK). The FC is an engineering coalition funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The purpose of this program is to provide a means of improving current engineering programs in order to produce quality students that can meet the changing and demanding needs of their future employers. This analysis makes use of data provided by the Assessment and Evaluation (A/E) team at TAMUK. A commitment was made by TAMUK, along with six other FC partner institutions, to thoroughly assess and evaluate the work of students to provide a foundation that would ensure student development and life-long learning in engineering education.
- Secola, P.M., Smiley, B.A., Anderson-Rowland, M.R., Castro, M., Tomaszewski, B., 2001, “Assessing the Effectiveness of Saturday Academies in an Engineering Outreach Program,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Women in Applied Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Investments is an innovative program that introduces middle school and high school girls to the exciting world of engineering and technology. Funded by a National Science Foundation grant, WISE Investments seeks to provide an intervention at both the middle school and high school levels by showing that engineering has real world applications; by demonstrating the problem-solving approach of engineers; by correcting misperceptions; and by providing positive engineering information and role models.
Female students in grades 6 through 12 were recruited to commit to a one-year program where they enrolled in eight Saturday Academies held once each month during the 1999-2000 school year. They were exposed to engineering through industry tours, mentoring sessions with college female engineering students, and hands-on projects from eight disciplines of engineering. The students were exposed to basic concepts and skills that illustrated engineering as meeting a human need to solve human problems.
- Merton, P., Clark, M.C., Richardson, J., Froyd, J.E., 2001, “Engineering Curricula Change Across the Foundation Coalition: How They Succeeded, What They Learned,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the engineering education coalitions program to profoundly change the culture of engineering education. The culture of engineering education encompasses not only the way an engineering curriculum is prepared and shared with students, but also the processes through which engineering curricula grow and improve. Therefore, the Foundation Coalition has undertaken a qualitative research project that examines processes through which coalition partners have initiated and attempted to sustain curricular change. It is important to emphasize that the focus of the study is the process of curricular change, not content of new curricula. The project is organized as series of six qualitative case studies that examine curricular change at each of the partner institutions. Data for each case study is collected through interviews of approximately twenty key faculty and administrators as well as review of relevant documentation. Each case study identifies critical events and salient issues involved in that process, as well as valuable lessons each institution learned from their experience. To date, interviews have been conducted at four the six institutions, but the present report will be based on data from the first three institutions at which interviews have been completed.
To date, several themes have emerged from analysis.
1) Each of the institutions initiated curricular improvement by developing a pilot program and offering it to a relatively small number of students. Initiating improvement via pilot programs is well-accepted developmental strategy for engineering artificial systems, but it offers benefits and presents challenges in an educational environment. Expanding from a pilot curriculum to a curriculum for an entire college of engineering also presents challenges in terms of faculty development and facility costs. Pilots should be planned both to study the proposed improvements as well as to support eventual adoption across the entire college.
2) Building support for curricular improvement within and beyond the College of Engineering required significantly more design and effort than anticipated by the change leaders. Based on the interviews, building support requires widespread communication, selection of influential faculty, political strategizing and assessment data. Communication plans require substantial up-front investment in addition to the efforts required to implement the plans.
3) The emphasis on research in most institutions presents significant obstacles for those who want to play an active role in curricular improvement.
Our study demonstrates that effecting major change in engineering curricula is a complex process but one that can succeed with careful planning and sustained effort. It is our hope that the experience of the partners of the Foundation Coalition will be helpful to other engineering programs as they plan for curricular change.
- Merton, P., Clark, M.C., Richardson, J., Froyd, J.E., 2001, “Engineering Curricular Change Across the Foundation Coalition: Potential Lessons from Qualitative Research,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the engineering education coalitions program to profoundly change the culture of engineering education. The culture of engineering education encompasses not only the structure of an engineering curriculum and the methods between students and the curriculum, but also the processes through which engineering curricula grow and improve. Therefore, the Foundation Coalition, one of eight engineering education coalitions, has undertaken a qualitative research project that examines processes through which coalition partners have initiated and attempted to sustain curricular change. It is important to emphasize that the focus of the study is the process of curricular change, not content of new curricula. The project is organized as series of six qualitative case studies that examine curricular change at each of the partner institutions. Data for each case study is collected through interviews of approximately twenty key faculty and administrators as well as review of relevant documentation. Each case study identifies critical events and salient issues involved in that process, as well as valuable lessons each institution learned from their experience. Interviews have been conducted at six institutions and case study reports have been prepared for three of the six institutions.
To date, several themes have emerged from analysis of the data.
1) Each of the institutions initiated curricular improvement by developing a pilot program and offering it to a relatively small number of students. Initiating improvement via pilot programs is well-accepted developmental strategy for engineering artificial systems, but it offers benefits and presents challenges in an educational environment. Expanding from a pilot curriculum to a curriculum for an entire class in a college of engineering also presents challenges in terms of faculty development and facility costs. Pilots should be planned both to study the proposed improvements as well as to support eventual adoption.
2) Building support for curricular improvement within and beyond the College of Engineering requires significantly more design and effort than anticipated by the change leaders. Building support requires insight into the processes of change. Communication plans that facilitate change require substantial up-frontinvestment in addition to the efforts required to implement the plans.
3) Soliciting support beyond the College of Engineering requires interaction that is outside normal communication lines.
Our study demonstrates that effecting major change in engineering curricula is a complex process that requires careful planning and sustained effort for success; however, what qualifies as success also changes from site to site. . is our hope that the experience of the partners of the Foundation Coalition will be helpful to other engineering programs as they plan for curricular change.
- Griffin, R.B., Creasy, T.S., 2001, “The Development of a Combined Materials/Manufacturing Process Course at Texas A&M University,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University is reducing the required number of undergraduate degree credit hours from 138 to 130 or 132 credit hours. Two long-standing courses, Properties of Materials (4 credit hours) and Manufacturing Processes (3 credit hours), will become one new junior level course (4 credit hours). Both of the predecessor courses had laboratory components as will the new course. This paper describes the process used to develop the course. An outline of the topics covered and the laboratory activities are included in the paper. One thrust of the laboratory portion of the course will allow students to make choices and to plan their laboratory activity rather than following a cookbook recipe for the activity. The paper provides and discusses several examples of this.
- Graham, J.M., Caso, R., Rierson, J., 2001, “The Effect of the Texas A&M University System AMP on the Success of Minority Undergrduates in Engineering: A Multiple-Outcome Analysis,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The Texas A&M System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (a.k.a. TX AMP), is a multi-institutional, multidisciplinary National Science Foundation program designed to foster significant increases in the number of underrepresented minority students earning baccalaureate degrees in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (SMET) disciplinesi. There are currently 25 LSAMP projects in existence across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The Texas A&M System AMP was among the first six to be funded, beginning in Fall 1991. In addition to Texas A&M University (TAMU), the TX AMP has actively included 4 other Texas A&M System Universities and 9 community colleges .
Each campus has pursued the objectives of the AMP Program by implementing strategies intended to increase retention, enrich learning, and encourage progression through SMET BS programs into SMET graduate programs for under-represented minority students. While many activities for nurturing the academic success of under-represented minority SMET students were employed in several or all TX AMP partner institutions, the particular repertoire of tactics employed have varied by campus, depending upon the particular needs of their students, as well as their particular institutional mission and culture. A description of TX AMP program activities is provided in Appendix A. Over the years it has also become a fundamental aim of the NSF AMP program to affect the institutional internalization of the programs objectives and institutional ownership of program activities.
On the TAMU main campus, the AMP Program has operated from within the College of Engineering as part of the Engineering Academic Programs Office. The programs focal strategy has revolved around building an inviting academic and emotionally supportive minority student community for prospective and enrolled minority students, in which retention and individual academic achievement are fostered. Specific tactics have included high-school to university bridge programs, transfer student bridge activities, scholarship or stipend funding, matching with peer, faculty and/or administration mentors, clustering students, supplemental instruction, special industry internship opportunities, and undergraduate research opportunities.
The TAMU AMP program has traditionally sought to include those minority students often considered most at risk: first generation college students, students with great financial need, and students unprepared to take engineering calculus in their first semester. Since 1996 the TX AMP program has operated under constraints imposed by the Hopwood Decisionii, which prohibits admission or access to special programs, services or incentives based upon racial or ethnic selection. In 1997, the TX AMP program worked to find legal means by which to hold ground on gains which had been achieved in attracting, nurturing, and increasing pools of under- represented minority engineering students, as well as an effective means of continuing to provide underrepresented minority students with a nurturing academic community and access to academic enrichment. A strategy adopted in the TAMU College of Engineering, in 1998, was to incorporate and institutionalize within the freshman engineering academic program many of the practices which had been initially seeded and supported by the AMP programiii.
Yearly Annual Reports and progress updates to NSF regularly report on the programs principal success indicator, the number of minority SMET BS students graduated by the TX AMP across all campuses. Our motives for undertaking this study were to probe and evaluate the effect of the AMP program and AMP program tactics upon some of the other important student performance outcomes which reflect upon students educational experience. We believe that this objective may be accomplished most meaningfully and usefully by studying the individual TAMU main campus program, taking into consideration the particular repertoire of program tactics employed and the particular contexts in which they have been implemented. The Coordinators of the TAMU campus AMP program were interested in exploring both the effectiveness of their program, but also the differential effect of various program tactics, all with an eye toward further improving the TAMU AMP program. Specifically, the current study uses a variety of outcome variables to measure the effectiveness of the TAMU AMP program across time and at different periods in students academic careers. Additionally, post hoc explorative analyses were conducted to provide possible explanations for findings.
Caso, R., Clark, M.C., Froyd, J.E., Inam, A., Kenimer, A.L., Morgan, J.R., Rinehart, J., 2002, “A Systemic Change Model in Engineering Education and Its Relevance for Women,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: The paper will present the experience at Texas A&M University (A&M) in institutionalizing its first-year and sophomore curricula using learning communities (LC) as the underlying concept. In 1998-99 academic year, A&M completed the transition from pilot curricula to new first and second year engineering curricula for every student. As the foundation for new curricula, A&M developed LCs. At A&M, a LC is a group of students, faculty and industry that have common interests and work as partners to improve the engineering educational experience. LCs value diversity, are accessible to all interested individuals, and bring real world situations into the engineering classroom. The key components of A&M engineering LCs at are: (1) clustering of students in common courses; (2) teaming; (3) active/cooperative learning; (4) industry involvement; (5) technology-enhanced classrooms; (6) peer teachers; (7) curriculum integration; (8) faculty team teaching; and (9) assessment and evaluation. This presentation will use both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods to try and understand how LCs have affected student retention, performance, and learning experience.
- Morgan, J.R., Froyd, J.E., Rinehart, J., Kenimer, A.L., Malave, C.O., Caso, R., Clark, M.C., 2002, “Can Systemic Change Really Help Engineering Students From Under-Represented Groups?,” Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Education.
Abstract: In 1998-99 academic year, A&M completed the first phase in the transition from pilot curricula to new first and second year engineering curricula for every student. Inclusive Learning Communities (ILC) form the foundation for new curricula. At A&M, an ILC is a group of students, faculty and industry that have common interests and work as partners to improve the engineering educational experience. These communities value diversity, are accessible to all interested individuals, and bring real world situations into the engineering classroom. The key components of an ILC at A&M are: (1) clustering of students in common courses (math, engineering, science); (2) teaming; (3) active/cooperative learning; (4) industry involvement in the classroom; (5) technology-enhanced classrooms; (6) undergraduate peer teachers; (7) curriculum integration; (8) faculty team teaching; and (9) assessment and evaluation. Based on the experience with its pilot curricula and the experiences since institutionalization in 1998-99, A&M believes that the new curricula based on the ILC concept offer a superior educational experience for engineering students. To demonstrate this conclusion, quantitative data on retention and progress toward graduation will be offered for all male and female students, as well as minority and non-minority students.
- Wheeler, E., Grigg, C., Chambers, Z., Layton, R.A., 2002, “Effective Practices in the Electrical Systems Service Course,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: There is a national need to improve the electrical systems service courses taken by mechanical engineering (ME) students. The systems that engineers work with are becoming increasingly multidisciplinary. Engineers, particularly team leaders and engineering managers, are finding it increasingly important to acquire some technical competence outside their core disciplines. Product design and development is coming to be viewed not as an assortment of problems in mechanics, electronics, hydraulics, and so forth, but as a systems problem, requiring a systems perspective. The automobile industry is only one example of an industry where this trend can be readily identified. Thus, knowledge of electrical systems is an integral part of every mechanical engineer's background, and it follows that electrical systems service courses are an integral part of mechanical engineering curricula.
Those who teach these courses know that the problems are not primarily ones regarding content but rather of delivery. The very real problems that can appear in these service courses are often due to a lack of motivation or interest on the part of students, a classroom/laboratory design that does not meet the discipline-specific needs of the students, and a learning environment lacking tools that encourage students to come to class prepared and that permit them to study effectively outside of class. We focus on the role that the course plays in the ME curriculum and the benefits it offers in the ME students' education.
Motivating students and engaging their interest is vital to the success of any course. These courses, however, often fail to interest or motivate students and many times do not meet their primary objective of enabling students to use the principles of electrical systems in their chosen discipline. This is partly because material is offered to the mechanical engineering student from the perspective of an electrical engineer. From the students' viewpoint, these service courses become a collection of unrelated topics with little relevance to their interests. Mechanical engineering departments must work with electrical and computer engineering (ECE) departments to improve these courses and to help ensure that the needs of ME students are met. ME departments can take steps to ensure that students come to these classes motivated and engaged. They can help faculty from ECE choose relevant topics that interest ME students.
In this paper, we describe steps being taken at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to address these issues. This is an ongoing project and course design will likely undergo significant modifications over the next 2-4 years. We report here the steps taken to date and our present plans. We begin with some background information, follow with course and curriculum design considerations, and conclude with our plans for assessment.
- Penrod, L., Talley, D., Froyd, J.E., Caso, R., Lagoudas, D., Kohutek, T., 2002, “Integrating "Smart" Materials Into a First-Year Engineering Curriculum: A Case Study,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Developments in materials science are creating new possibilities for engineering designs. For example, multifunctional materials, such as shape memory alloys (SMA) or piezoelectric materials are referred to as smart materials since designers can use properties of these materials to construct components of adaptive mechanisms. For example, researchers are using shape memory alloys (SMA) to build biomimetic systems that mimic the behavior of biological organisms such as fish or insects. The ability of SMA components to change shape in response to thermal or electrical stimuli considerably simplifies construction of biomimetic systems. As multifunctional materials are changing the practice of engineering, providing undergraduate students with exposure and experiences with these materials and their potential for new design options should be seriously explored.
The proposed paper presents a narrative description of how material on SMA was integrated into a first-year engineering course and a first-year engineering project. Key partners, including an undergraduate engineering student working on a research experience and a first-year graduate student, will describe their roles in integrating material into a first-year engineering course that was taught in Fall 2001. Also, data describing the impact on students and faculty will be presented.
- Richardson, J., Froyd, J.E., Clark, M.C., Merton, P., 2002, “Observations on Our Engineering Education Culture Based on 10 Years of Foundation Coalition Curricula Change Efforts,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: Faculty at universities participating in the Foundation Coalition (FC) developed innovative freshman and sophomore engineering curricula in the early to mid 1990s. Since that time, faculty and administrators at those institutions have worked to see the new curricula adopted as the standard curricula. The FC change effort, especially the adoption process, prompted out-of-the-ordinary responses from many faculty and administrators. The authors compare these responses across the FC institutions and attribute common responses to manifestations of our academic culture. Most interesting are the invisible aspects of our culture, the ways we think and act about which many of us are not even aware.
Many of the authors observations on our academic culture seem, in hindsight, to be common sense. For example, faculty will be reluctant to teach an innovative course developed by a colleague down the hall. Yet FC faculty learned the hard way during the curricula reform effort about this and other aspects of academic culture. Additional characteristics of our culture described in this paper were gleaned from an analysis of the over 100 interviews of FC faculty and administrators recorded and transcribed as part of the authors on-going three-year research project.
Courter, S.S., Martin, J.K.., 2003, “2d and 3d Order Refinements/Improvements to an Experiential Design,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: A three-credit course for first-year students with the objective of providing an authentic engineering design experience and an introduction to engineering has been in place at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1994. From the inception, the course has been centered on real projects the students carry out in collaboration with bona fide clients.
During the last eight years, the course has evolved through a series of refinements and improvements based on systematic evaluation and reflection. The basic concept and structure of the course remains the same; however, activities and assignments for the students have seen fundamental changes. For example, when the course was established, in addition to the weekly lab, there were two 1-hour lectures per week that involved all ~200 students. The educational objective of the lectures was to provide an introduction for the students to many different aspects of engineering and design ranging from discussions of engineering ethics and engineering and society to introduction to strength of materials and elementary electronics. As a result of observation of student response (in class, via discussion, and survey), numerous changes have been made to this format. Now, students attend one large group meeting per week where active learning is used in all the activities. Faculty share an example that demonstrates the desired educational concept, and then ask students to apply the concept with their peers to something of specific interest to them. The second lecture each week is now a small group meeting where the content is determined just-in-time, as the result of a formal method for determining what the students are most interested in learning to best complete their project.
Other changes include
Incorporation of writing into all aspects of the course
Recognition that the design process is similar to the communication process
Peer review of presentations and writing
Philosophy in the types of projects that are selected and the clients that work best with the course and students
Forms of presentation by the student teams
Use of course notes
Means for development of a cohesive and functioning faculty team
Introduction of engineering majors and disciplines to students
Training and identification of responsibilities for the undergraduate assistants.
- Haag, S.G., Caso, R., Fowler, E., Pimmel, R.L., Morley, P., 2003, “A Systematic Web and Literature Search for Instructional and Assessment Materials Addressing EC 2000 Program Outcomes,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.
Abstract: The engineering accrediting body (ABET) has identified the skills and competencies in which engineering students are expected to be prepared by their engineering programs (EC2000, Criterion 3, a-k). These competencies include several often characterized as "soft," open-ended, or nontraditional (i.e., communication, teaming, awareness of global and social impact, etc.), which engineering faculty often profess feeling ill prepared to teach, and less prepared to assess, as classroom or programmatic outcomes. Typically, the traditional sources of engineering assessment tools and models (i.e., test suggestions from engineering texts and examination problems borrowed and adapted from other faculty members) are poor in resources addressing the "soft" ABET competencies. For these reasons a group of engineering educators and assessment and evaluation professionals from four NSF Engineering Foundation Coalition partner universities, undertook comprehensive, systematic Web and print literature searches and a survey of firsthand information about instructional and assessment materials being used to address the ABET a-k competencies. This paper confines itself to describing the methodology used and the results obtained in the systematic Web and literature searches. The paper discusses (1) the extent to which relevant instructional and assessment materials, for each particular ABET a-k category, were found to be publicly accessible online and in libraries; (2) the systematically cumulated impressions of investigators about the utility of the available materials; (3) the extent to which a-k instructional or assessment materials could be readily extrapolated from articles and presentation papers addressing ABET assessment; (4) the work undertaken to develop a Web-searchable database of categorized and annotated references to refer engineering educators to appropriate and available materials; and (5) the efforts to select, systematize and implement uniform methods for searching, documenting, classifying and compiling search information.
Clark, M.C., Froyd, J.E., Merton, P., Richardson, J., 2003, “Evolving Models of Curricular Change: The Experience of the Foundation Coalition,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: This paper examines one aspect of the curricular change process undertaken by the Foundation Coalition, namely how the understandings about change held by the FC leaders evolved as they moved through the process of developing and implementing a new curriculum. We show how those change models became more complex as they struggled with three major issues: the role of assessment data, the limitations of the pilot for gaining full-scale adoption of the new curriculum, and the need for structural change to sustain the new curriculum.
Clark, M.C., Revuelto, J., Kraft, D., Beatty, P., 2003, “Inclusive Learning Communities: The Experience of the NSF Foundation Coalition,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: This qualitative study examines the experience of cohorted students in the Foundation Coalition curricula. These cohorts serve as inclusive learning communities that function in multiple ways to enhance student learning. Elements of their learning include learning to work as a team; discovering how they learn best; figuring out the most effective ways to get help; learning to survive in college; and learning how to think like engineers. We conclude that the cohort experience is a powerful facilitator of student learning.
- Gray, G.L.., Evans, D.L., Cornwell, P.J., Costanzo, F., Self, B., 2003, “Toward a Nationwide Dynamics Concept Inventory Assessment Test,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: This paper describes our efforts to develop a national concept inventory test in undergraduate dynamics, that is, a Dynamics Concept Inventory. This paper presents the current state of development and discusses future efforts and directions of this project.
- Merton, P., Froyd, J.E., Clark, M.C., Richardson, J., 2004, “Challenging the Norm in Engineering Education: Understanding Organizational Culture and Curricular Change,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: In the study of organizational behavior, several linkages have been made between organizational change and organizational culture. One link suggests that a "strong" culture is a prerequisite for corporate success, and attaining "excellence" often requires culture change. In the study of change in higher education, there have been suggestions that an institution must have a "culture" that validates change, and that change strategies are often shaped by organizational culture. Recently, as presented in the 2003 ASEE conference, Godfrey made a considerable contribution to understanding the culture of engineering education by prviding a theoretical model that may assist change leaders in understanding the dimensions of their own school's engineering education culture. She suggests that if the espoused values inherent in any proposed change do not reflect the existing culture at an "operational level," change will be difficult to sustain.
In the Foundation Coalition (FC) we have been studying the change processes FC partner institutions went through to restructure freshman and sophomore curricula. The six diverse FC institutions attempted major curricular changes based on an identical set of principles using similar change models. We noticed that similar change strategies produced different results. Using two examples from the same institution from our study, this paper will examine change strategies through the framework of organizational culture, a framework in which engineering education culture is subsumed. In showing how organizational culture was a critical variable in curricular changes undertaken by one FC institution, we will show how essential cultural analysis is to any change attempt.
Courter, S.S., Freitag, C., McEniry, M., 2004, “Professional Development On-line: Ways of Knowing and Ways of Practice,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.
Abstract: "Ways of Knowing and Ways of Practice" is an on-line professional development opportunity for faculty members and instructional staff at the University of Wisconsin Madison. This pilot distance learning experience occurred during spring semester 2003. The project was designed to help faculty (1) engage in reflection and continuous improvement of learning, both their own and their students', (2) facilitate conversations about teaching and learning in the process of building a learning community, (3) create a collaborative learning environment with faculty members and peers, (4) build confidence in curriculum development, including designing, guiding, and assessing learning, (5) learn with and about technology in the process of improving curriculum, and (6) connect teaching and research and bridge the gap between theory and practice. The twenty participants represented ten universities. A team of two from each university included one faculty person from engineering and one from another science, math, or computer science discipline. Specifically, the professional development opportunity explored ways of knowing, including theories of learning, learning styles, disciplinary and cultural perspectives and how they inform ways of practice, including both teaching practice and engineering practice. After an orientation in Madison, Wisconsin, the experience involved weekly on-line discussions based on readings, a personalized curriculum project, and approximately two to three hours per week commitment on the part of each participant. The Foundation Coalition funded this project. This paper highlights the assessment results of this pilot project and next steps based on analysis and reflection. A forthcoming minidocument will describe how to develop and implement a distance-based faculty development program.