Conference Paper

Work in progress - spiral curriculum approach to reformulate engineering curriculum

Dept. of Eng. Educ., Virginia Polytech. Inst. & State Univ., Blacksburg, VA
DOI: 10.1109/FIE.2005.1612007 Conference: Frontiers in Education, 2005. FIE '05. Proceedings 35th Annual Conference
Source: IEEE Xplore

ABSTRACT A theme-based spiral curriculum approach is being adopted to initiate the department-level reform (DLR) of the freshman engineering and the bioprocess engineering curricula at Virginia Tech. A large number of engineering faculty members are collaborating with experts in educational psychology and academic assessment to accomplish the objectives of this 3-year NSF supported project that began in September 2004. Successful implementation of the spiral approach will be used as a model for incorporating similar reforms in other engineering departments and elsewhere

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    ABSTRACT: The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at Duke University, Durham, NC, is undergoing extensive curriculum revisions that incorporate novel content, organization, and teaching methods. The cornerstone of the new curriculum is a theme-based introductory course, fundamentals of ECE. To introduce students to the major areas of ECE in their first year of study, this course is organized around three concepts: 1) how to interface with the physical world; 2) how to transmit energy and information; and 3) how to extract, interpret, and analyze information. To provide insight and motivation, the course is designed to introduce multiple areas of ECE, emphasizing how they are interrelated and how they contribute to the design and functioning of real-world applications. Also, the course must engage its students, many of whom are evaluating ECE as a prospective major and career. To achieve these goals, the course adopts a unifying theme, tightly couples lecture and laboratory exercises, and includes a laboratory experience that emphasizes design, integration, and real applications. The interactive classroom content and laboratory exercises are developed iteratively so that each course component supports the other, rather than one being dominant and driving the other. As the context focus of the laboratory, a robotic platform enables the exploration of a broad range of ECE concepts, both independently and integrated into an entire system. For their final design project, students form small groups, which in turn combine into larger teams, to create robots that work together to overcome realistic challenges. This paper describes the curricular objectives and key course elements that guide course development, the resulting content and structure of the course, and the assessment data that indicate successful achievement of the curricular goals.
    IEEE Transactions on Education 09/2007; · 0.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A workshop module was created to introduce freshman engineering students to sustainable energy scenarios by means of concepts of systems. The module was also designed to represent spiraling of key con cepts the students were introduced to, prior to the works hop activity. Berkeley-Madonna, a dynamical simulation software, was utilized to simulate and compare two future scenarios of power production met by coal an d bio-diesel, respectively. Student understanding of the scenarios was evaluated by subjecting the students to five pre- and post-test survey questions set up on a 5-p oint Likert scale. Statiscal repeated-measures analysis was performed on a much smaller set of data than expected due to insufficient post-test responses. Analysis o f the pre- and post-test data indicated a significant dif ference and improvement in response to only one of the five questions posed, which assessed the individual stud ent's apriori knowledge on "carbon sequestering" and "carbon neutral policy"

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May 17, 2014