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An integrated, project-based, introductory course in calculus, physics, English, and engineering

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9 Author(s)
Roedel, R. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ, USA ; Kawski, M. ; Doak, B. ; Politano, M.
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Describes the development of an integrated introductory course delivered to freshman engineering students at Arizona State University in the Fall '94 semester as a part of the Foundation Coalition program. The course combined and integrated material from introductory courses in calculus, physics, English composition and engineering, normally taught in a stand-alone format. The calculus used in this course was based on the Harvard reform model. The physics was mechanics-based. What differentiated this integrated package from versions found at other institutions in the Coalition was (a) the inclusion of English composition, and (b) the project-based introduction to engineering. In this integrated course, the students learned to organize and develop ideas for both technical and general audiences. In addition, they learned the use of rhetorical principles with readings from the philosophy of science, engineering case studies, and so on. The overarching framework for the class was the use of engineering projects to teach design and modeling principles. The three projects incorporated the calculus and physics that had been learned to date in the class. The first utilized kinematics and curve-fitting to functions to design and build a simple projectile launcher; the second employed dynamics and numerical integration to design and build a bungee drop system; and the third used rotational motion concepts and a data acquisition system to identify the shape and material of a hidden object. The integrated course also employed considerable use of computers in an active learning environment that stressed teaming and other quality tools

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1995. Proceedings., 1995  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

1-4 Nov 1995