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Journal Papers

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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  • Glover, C.J., Jones, H.L., 1992, “TAMU/NSF Engineering Core Currciulum Course 4: Conservation Principles for Continuous Media,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: In an effort to encourage new approaches to teaching engineering, the National Science Foundation has supported the development of four new courses at Texas A&M University (TAMU). These new courses are designed to build a solid foundation for further engineering study and practice and are intended to replace the content normally taught in a set of “core” engineering science courses. This paper addresses key elements of one of these new courses (Course 4). Other elements of the program are discussed elsewhere.

    Course 4, to a great extent, parallels course 1. It has four primary objectives, 1) to develop the basic equations of engineering analysis for use with continua, 2) to review properties and behavior of materials from the perspective of continua, 3) to present applications of the basic equations to the analysis and understanding of processes in continua such as heat transfer, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, and 4) to carry out the above objectives with an emphasis on understanding the physical meaning of the fundamental laws as represented in the mathematical equations. From this perspective, it combines the concepts of course 1 with the mathematical language of multivariable calculus.

    In this course we further develop the unifying theme of conservation principles and in doing so further instill in the students the tremendous wealth of information which lies in the handful (plus one) of physical laws. The laws are revisited, although on a microscopic scale, to provide details such as temperature profiles associated with heat conduction, stress and strain in deformable solids, and velocity profiles of flowing fluids. As in course 1, it is our objective that students practice approaching problems from a viewpoint of applying the laws, one by one, and asking the questions “What does counting mass (energy, linear momentum, angular momentum, charge, entropy, mechanical energy, thermal energy, electrical energy, etc.) tell me?". This approach further establishes a strong understanding of the fundamental physical laws and provides students with a foundation for approaching new problems in a creative and conceptual way.


  • Jung, I., Ku, H., Evans, D.L., 1997, “A Network-Based Multimedia Computerized Testing Program,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference.

    Abstract: In this paper, we describe a network-based, multimedia, Quizzer or testing tool that has been developed for authoring and delivering electronic quizzes/tests. We demonstrate this tool and compare it with traditional paper-based tests. The tool has been classroom tested and will be available for potential users.

    Quizzes are easily constructed, updated or built from test item databases by using this tool. Graphics (using several graphics file formats) for questions and/or answers are easily incorporated as are digital video clips (AVI files). This tool is well suited for pre- and postexams, student assessment, and self-evaluations.

  • 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 NSF’s 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 two’s complement) in the hardware course, and by arithmetic in different bases in the discrete mathematics course. It also integrates cleanly with the Foundation Coalition’s freshman year, and provides a block of instruction that focuses directly upon the discipline of computing.


  • 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.

  • Blaisdell, S., Jones, R., Andreyev, C., 1998, “An Interactive CD-ROM to Sensitize Engineering Students to Diversity Issues,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: Abstract - There is an ever-increasing emphasis on teamwork both in the engineering classroom and the workplace. As a result, engineering students need to be aware of how diversity issues play a role in group dynamics. Understanding diversity allows student teams to work more effectively, and provides students with particularly marketable skills for today’s corporate environment.

    With this in mind, the Foundation Coalition commissioned a project to develop a multimedia training for engineering student-related diversity issues in the form of an interactive CD ROM. Arizona State University’s Women in Applied Science and Engineering (WISE) Program spearheaded this collaborative effort, including graduate students from Educational Media and International Business.

    The final product will be piloted in ASU’s first-year Foundation Coalition classroom during the fall, 1998 semester. Eventually, the program will be made available to engineering programs nation-wide. With the program, engineering students explore multiple situations where diversity is an issue. At a critical point, the student will have to make a choice of what a character should do or say to deal with the situation. The program will include multiple features to keep the student involved in the learning process.

    Designing a fully functional training in a form of a computer program is a lengthy process. The steps include doing a review of the relevant research, designing the framework, designing a storyboard, writing a script, soliciting feedback, recruiting a cast, shooting video, creating animation, programming, testing, and debugging. This paper discusses this process and the program content.

  • Sathianathan, D., Sheppard, S., Jenison, R., Bilgutay, N.M., Demel, J.T., Gavankar, P., Lockledge, J., Mutharasan, R., Phillips, H., Poli, C., Richardson, J., 1998, “Freshman Design Projects: Lessons Learned in Engineering Coalitions,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: NSF established the Engineering Education Coalition programs for the purpose of creating systemic changes in engineering education. Coalitions are groups of institutions of higher learning who work collaboratively to achieve their coalition's mission. The first Coalition program was established in 1990. There are now eight Engineering Education Coalitions representing some 59 Universities (roughly 20% of all of the undergraduate institutions in the United States).

    Most coalitions have developed freshman design projects to increase the interest of new engineering students and to begin the integration of design across the curriculum. These activities are multi-week project approach, where students are engaged in hands-on experimental learning. The projects require that the members of the team must work together to complete the task. The multi-week projects dominate the course and the project theme motivates both the fixed and the flexible content covered during the course.

    This special session will discuss the various types of freshman design projects used and lessons learned by the Engineering Coalitions. Short presentations from the various coalitions will review what has been done and the lessons learned. The sessions will be interactive, involving the audience in the discussion of these lessons learned. A list of projects used in the coalitions along with a list of publications will be made available.

  • 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.


  • Jacobi, A., Martin, J.K.., Mitchell, J., Newell, T., 2003, “A Concept Inventory for Heat Transfer,” Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference.

    Abstract: Students enter courses in engineering with intuitions about physical phenomena. Through coursework they build on their intuition to develop a set of beliefs about the subject. Often, their understanding of basic concepts is incomplete, and their explanations are not “correct.” Concept Inventories are assessment tools designed to determine the degree to which students understand the concepts of a subject and to identify the bases for misunderstandings. A cooperative effort between faculty at the Universities of Wisconsin and Illinois has been undertaken to develop a concept inventory for heat transfer. The process initiated with student identification of the conceptual problems rather than with faculty perceptions of student misunderstandings. Students then explored areas of conceptual difficulty and phrased questions that would test understanding of the concepts. Students working together with faculty developed a concept inventory for heat transfer. The presentation will report on the experience with using student groups and the resulting concept inventory.


  • Pavelich, M., Jenkins, B., Birk, J., Bauer, R., Krause, S.J., 2004, “Development of a Chemistry Concept Inventory for Use in Chemistry, Materials, and Other Engineering Courses,” Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, 2004–1907.

    Abstract: Concept Inventory (CI) is the label given to an exam that explores students' mental models, their qualitative images, of how science and engineering work. Data support that students can often solve mathematical problems in a course but have poor or incorrect mental models about the fundamental concepts behind the mathematics. For example, a student may be able to recall, or deduce, and then apply the proper equation to solve a problem but may not answer a qualitative, conceptual, question correctly. We teachers would like students to be able to understand and correctly answer both questions. However, our traditional college curricula emphasize the quantitative type exercises and simply assume that student success on these implies strong conceptual mental models that would have them answer the qualitative question correctly. Data 1 from the well researched physics CI, the Force Concept Inventory by Hestenes, show that this assumption is not good. Most students who succeed in our science and engineering courses still have seriously immature or outright incorrect mental models about the subjects they have studied. Their concept understanding is much weaker than it should be. This paper describes the ongoing work on the development and testing of a Chemistry Concept Inventory (ChCI) meant to help faculty determine the extent of misconceptions about chemistry that students might carry into their engineering courses. The ChCI is also meant to serve as an evaluation instrument for chemistry or engineering faculty members who devise new ways of teaching designed to repair students' misconceptions and strengthen their correct mental models of chemistry. The work reported here was primarily done by co-author Brooke Jenkins as part of her Masters research in Chemical Education.


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