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Building community with the "LINKS" program: a first-year link between a basic communication course and other engineering courses

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10 Author(s)
Corradini, M. ; University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, WI, USA ; Courter, S. ; Gold, E. ; Grossenbacher, L.
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Summary form only given as follows.Within the last five years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering, has successfully introduced both an engineering design course and a basic communication course into its first year curriculum. However the engineering design course can accommodate only about one third or 276 of the 900 freshmen students while the basic communication course reaches about 85 percent; 15 percent test out. With a goal of introducing all first year students to engineering so that they can make more informed career decisions, the College introduced the LINKS program during fall, 2000. Entry level students had the option of joining the LINKS program that fosters collaboration and creative connections among students, courses, and faculty. The LINKS program includes EPD 155 Basic Communication linked with several courses: EPD 101 Contemporary Issues in the Engineering Profession, EPD 160 Introduction to Engineering (the Freshman Design Course), EPD 690 Freshman Research Seminars, and EPD 690 Ethics in Engineering. This "Work in Process". describes these first year options in terms of the goals, content, process, and lessons learned. The discussion is limited to the results of two semesters based on the experiences of students and faculty as self-reported and as documented in course evaluations. More in-depth research for specific linked courses may be reported in separate papers at a later time. Preliminary results indicate that the LINKS program is having both educational and social benefits and may be an effective way to introduce all first-year students to engineering and to provide a sense of community and belonging that is rare on such a large campus

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 2001. 31st Annual  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

2001