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Engineering design in the freshman year at the University of Alabama-Foundation Coalition program

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3 Author(s)
J. Parker ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Alabama Univ., Huntsville, AL, USA ; D. Cordes ; J. Richardson

A pair of courses, Foundations of Engineering I and II, form the two-semester engineering component of Foundation Coalition's integrated freshman year at the University of Alabama (UA). These courses replace two existing freshman engineering courses which are devoted to computer programming 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 mathematics, 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 compressed natural gas tank for an automotive application. Each design project requires a team report in written and 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 and e-mail 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

Published in:

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

Date of Conference:

1-4 Nov 1995