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Learning to change the world: a case study of a mechanical engineering design course

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2 Author(s)
Newstetter, Wendy C. ; EduTech Inst., Georgia Inst. of Technol., Atlanta, GA, USA ; Kolodner, Janet L.

The National Science Foundation in collaboration with its engineering school coalition partners has been exploring methods for improving undergraduate engineering education. This initiative began in response to a 1992 survey of engineering deans and employers that identified specific weaknesses in engineering education. In response to this survey NSF and its partners have been attempting to remediate the identified weaknesses through specific educational practices. These include providing opportunities for: creative problem formulation and solving experiences; designing in teams; developing written, spoken and graphical communication skills; and using computers as cognitive tools. We know that engineering students need such opportunities to develop the kinds of skills that anoint them to change the world, but we know little about the pedagogic issues involved in developing such skills. This paper reports on a preliminary ethnographic study of a mechanical engineering design classroom. Although not developed in response to the NSF initiative, the course as it has evolved over the years has incorporated most of the the aforementioned remediation recommendations

Published in:

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

Date of Conference:

1-4 Nov 1995