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Using computers in an engineering curriculum. Where are we? Where are we going?

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1 Author(s)
W. H. Jermann ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Memphis State Univ., TN, USA

Last year we initiated a computer technology access fee. Next semester there will be a new “optional” fee in order that students can have easier access to the information superhighway. In addition, a significant tuition increase has been proposed, and high level administrators have discussed increasing the technology access fee. From the perspective of our high-level academic strategic planners, we have made great progress, and our pathway into the future is well defined. There is even much enthusiasm among many of our faculty members. By using software packages such as Matlab, DADisp, Orcad, and Pspice, students can perform meaningful tasks early in their engineering studies. But the situation encountered by students may nor be so rosy. The day-to-day support given to student computing facilities is not particularly good. Students may be required to hop from one software package to another without becoming competent in the use of any package, and may have little appreciation of the tasks they are performing. As engineering educators, we are faced with two major constraints. First, most of us agree that we are here to EDUCATE students rather than to train them. Secondly, we have recently experienced challenging job market opportunities. We would like our students to be able to successfully compete for technical jobs even when job opportunities are scarce. We are also aware that a significant number of employers, particularly small employers, would like entry level engineers to be prepared for productive work on the first day of a new job. Yet, different types of jobs require different skills, and we really do not know what technical skills will be required for engineers working in the 21st century

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1996. FIE '96. 26th Annual Conference., Proceedings of  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

6-9 Nov 1996