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Frontiers in Education Conference, 2013 IEEE

Date 23-26 Oct. 2013

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  • Front cover

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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Copyright

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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Table of contents

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  • Front matter

    Page(s): iv - cxxii
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  • Computer engineering curriculum guidelines

    Page(s): 1 - 2
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (95 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Participants of this pre-conference workshop will learn about the development of computer engineering curricula reports. They will also learn about the revision process and will have the opportunity to provide comment and opinion on drafting an update of the joint ACM and IEEE Computer Society document from 2004 titled, “Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Engineering” known also as CE2004. The authors of this workshop welcome all participation including overall comments and targeted editing assistance from the computer engineering education community. This activity will ensure that an updated document is a forward-looking summary of state-of-the-art educational practices in the computer engineering field. View full abstract»

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  • Modeling software the alloy way

    Page(s): 3
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    Until recently, those who taught mathematical modeling (or “formal methods”) faced daunting challenges. First, most modeling tools used seemingly esoteric notations that were hurdles for many students. Even if the notation could be tamed, the tools themselves were rarely more than syntax checkers, possibly with support for simple expression evaluation. Venturing beyond this requires understanding of proof theories and strategies well beyond that typical of other engineering disciplines. What is more, the tools worked at a much lower level than that of the domain itself; it was easy for students to miss the forest for the trees. The development and release of the Alloy from MIT has improved the situation dramatically. With Alloy, instructors now have a tool that supports formal structural and behavioral modeling (using C-like syntax), along with state space exploration and property verification using relational logic, predicates, and assertions The tradeoff involved - only first order systems over finite domains can be analyzed - is not problematic in practice. The workshop will introduce Alloy - both the language and support tool - to faculty interested in formal methods and mathematical modeling. After a brief introduction to Alloy concepts, the tool and language will be explored by interactively developing a simple software system model. This approach mirrors the way Alloy is taught and used within RIT's undergraduate software engineering program. View full abstract»

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  • Programming board game strategies in CS2

    Page(s): 4 - 5
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (583 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This workshop presents freshman-level projects based on designing and programming player strategies for well-established board games. Unlike modern computerized games, board games are typically discrete, where the game state can be stored in basic data structures, and a variety of search techniques can be used to evaluate possible player moves. Such board games provide a natural context for many introductory Computer Science topics. The strategy component makes the project open-ended, motivating the students to keep improving their code. After appropriate background information is presented, to better understand how the project works from the students' perspective, participants will act as students, brainstorm through a variety of data structures, and develop a small part of a player module. View full abstract»

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  • Why are continuous-time signals and systems courses so difficult? How can we make them more accessible?

    Page(s): 6 - 8
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (596 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The introductory continuous-time signals and systems (CTSS) course is widely considered one of the most difficult courses in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) curricula. This workshop is an interactive discussion about sources of difficulty and what can be done to help improve student learning and understanding. In the first part of the workshop, discussion will be sparked and encouraged through presentation of historical data and directed questions. The goal will be to advance a continually developing understanding of the problem. In the second part of the workshop, attendees will learn about hands-on activities that are being done at Bucknell and Rose-Hulman to help address what the authors think some of the issues are. Attendees will have an opportunity to attempt some of these activities, use the technology to develop their own activity, and review the activities with regard to the previous discussion about learning difficulties. Each attendee is highly encouraged to bring a laptop and will receive a USB memory stick with the software, lesson plans, materials, and background literature that support this workshop. View full abstract»

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  • Using problets for problem-solving exercises in introductory C++/Java/C# courses

    Page(s): 9 - 10
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (573 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This workshop will help participants introduce problem-solving exercises into their introductory C++/Java/C# programming courses. The purpose of problem-solving exercises is two-fold: they supplement classroom instruction and complement the programming projects traditionally assigned in the course. The benefits of problem-solving exercises are many: they improve students' comprehension of programming constructs, their self-confidence, especially that of female students, and their coding skills. In this workshop, problets (www.problets.org) will be introduced as a tool for problem-solving exercises. They parameterize problems to deter plagiarism; provide step-by-step explanation of the correct solution to each problem, which helps students learn; and adapt to the learner's needs. They are a web-based service freely available for educational use. Problets have been rigorously evaluated, and have been adopted and used by dozens of instructors every semester since 2004. The workshop is appropriate for instructors of introductory C++/Java/C# programming courses in Computer Science or engineering. Participants are asked to bring a WiFi-enabled laptop to the workshop for hands-on experience. View full abstract»

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  • Inspiring inventive genius in middle and high school students with chain-reaction STEAM Machines™

    Page(s): 11
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (565 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In this hands-on pre-conference workshop, participants will learn about the STEAM Machines™ program, which teaches middle and high school students the engineering design process in the context of designing and building Rube Goldberg®-style chain reaction machines. View full abstract»

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  • The Erlang approach to concurrent system development

    Page(s): 12 - 13
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (580 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The prevalence of multi-core processors means application developers can no longer ignore concurrency and its attendant problems of data races, deadlock, safety, and liveness. Imperative languages such as Java and C, based on shared, mutable state, have added locks, semaphores and condition variables to address these problems; unfortunately, these locking approaches are notoriously error-prone. Functional ("single assignment") languages with immutable state have been promoted as tools to mitigate these problems. In particular, Erlang, a functional language with roots in Prolog, has been used by Erickson, Ltd., to develop robust, concurrent, fault-tolerant, communications switches (31ms downtime per year). This workshop will introduce Erlang to educators interested in the language per se as well as those focusing on concurrent system development. The goal is to encourage the use of both imperative and functional languages in teaching about concurrency. Participants will install the Erlang system on their notebooks so as to engage in activities along with the organizer. Both sequential and concurrent systems - small but complete - will be developed in conjunction with the presentations. Time is allocated at the end of the workshop to discuss the pedagogical issues involved in adopting Erlang or similar technology. View full abstract»

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  • An online revolution in learning and teaching

    Page(s): 14
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    College-level online learning took off in a big way in 2012, and is likely to impact every department and teacher in some manner. This workshop will highlight major developments in online education technology in engineering and computer science. The workshop will highlight recent online trends like flipped classrooms and MOOCs, will survey various authoring and delivery platforms like EdX and Zyante, summarize some research on online/flipped teaching, discuss methods for instructors to collaborate on delivering instructional experiences, and highlight experiences by teachers of online and hybrid courses. View full abstract»

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  • Teaching Service-Oriented Programming to CS and SE undergraduate students

    Page(s): 15 - 16
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (144 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Service-Oriented Programming (SOP) is a relatively new programming paradigm that supports the development of new software applications using existing services as building blocks. SOP has gained significant popularity in industry as it increases software reuse and productivity. As the SOP paradigm can improve modern software development, the presenters have created a course-module based approach for incorporating SOP into Computer Science (CS) and Software Engineering (SE) curricula; a course module is a distinct curricular unit such as a lab or teaching component that an instructor may incorporate into an existing course typically without requiring formal curricular approval. SOP course modules have been developed for inclusion in standard courses in many CS and SE programs; for example, an introductory SOP course module in a CS2 course while advanced modules for courses such as Programming Language Concepts, Software Engineering, or Web Services. This workshop will present basic concepts and techniques of SOP and describe how the course-module approach toward SOP can be adapted for the participants' own teaching. The typical participant would be a faculty member with some background in programming, and is interested in learning more about SOP but does need not to have prior web service programming experience. View full abstract»

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  • Refining a taxonomy for engineering education research

    Page(s): 17
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    Engineering education research is a diverse, rapidly-evolving, international field in which scholars apply the methods of educational research to address a variety of issues pertaining to teaching and learning in engineering. As the field has grown, so has the need for a standardized terminology and an updated taxonomy to map and communicate research initiatives. Refining a U.S-centric taxonomy is the focus of this workshop. Participants will engage in activities to reflect on a draft taxonomy and offer suggestions to refine it. Participants are encouraged to bring a computer, and interested participants at any experience level are encouraged to join this dialogue. View full abstract»

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  • Exploring Boyer's scholarship of application for submissions to the IEEE transactions on education

    Page(s): 18 - 20
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    A substantial percentage of the manuscripts submitted to the IEEE Transactions on Education as well as a substantial percentage of the papers that have been published fall within the scholarship of application as described by Boyer. The scholarship of application in electrical and computer engineering education might be briefly described as the scholarship of teaching practice in these disciplines. While this is a critical arena for electrical and computer engineering education, standards and criteria across the scholarly community for this area of scholarship have not been well established. Thus, this workshop at FIE 2013 offers opportunities for dialog about these issues. A starting point for the conversation will be the new review criteria that the Transactions has established for the scholarship of application. The intent of the workshop is to explore how authors interpret the new criteria, how authors might address the new criteria, and how support for authors can be fostered. Small groups will explore in greater depth the meaning of review criteria for the scholarship of application for education in electrical and computer engineering. Then, small groups with share their results with the large group for broader conversations. View full abstract»

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  • Assessing lifelong learning: The role of information gathering and application skills

    Page(s): 21 - 23
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (233 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This special session will explore different approaches to measuring and promoting lifelong learning skills in support of fulfilling ABET student outcome criterion 3.i. “The recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning”[1] is mult-faceted and challenging to both define and measure and is comprised of a mixture of skills, abilities, and habits, and attitudes. This session focuses on those aspects of lifelong learning associated with self-directed learning, and in particular the information gathering and application skills required for effective independent learning. As a result of this session, we will develop some shared understandings of these skills, our ability to measure them, and an agenda for future research on measuring and supporting activities related to student outcome criteria 3.i. View full abstract»

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  • Green construction in civil engineering instruction

    Page(s): 24 - 28
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    Teaching sustainability in civil engineering curriculum fulfills ABET 2000 Outcome 3c and the codes of ethics of NSPE and ASCE. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has published the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria since 1998. LEED is an optional criteria in private construction and is mandated or encouraged by many federal, state, and local governments for public construction projects. Learning about LEED criteria will help to prepare civil engineers to understand how civil systems interact with and operate in a more complementary manner with the natural world as well as to reduce water, energy, and material usage. The authors describe the process of learning about the LEED v3 (2009) criteria to apply it to two existing buildings to build a scorecard. In the process of building the scorecard, the authors learned about sustainable construction techniques. Future guidance on applications of the LEED criteria across the undergraduate civil engineering curriculum is discussed. View full abstract»

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  • On-professional competences in engineering education for XL-Classes

    Page(s): 29 - 34
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    Far reaching changes in university higher education have taken place in the last ten years. Different factors, e.g. necessity of on-professional competences in engineering education, rising or vast student numbers and new technical possibilities, have influenced the academic teaching and learning process. Therefore interdependence between requirements and didactical-educational possibilities is given. Because of changed circumstances an adaption of teaching methods and concepts is required. At the same time Bologna arrogates students to be placed in the centre of the teaching and learning process and claims on-professional competences for today's students. Especially for XL-Classes this is a specific challenge. One of the questions ensuing is how to increase learning success by the use of specific didactical methods? With a research approach connecting different proven didactical concepts and considering the previously shown conditions, the concept of the lecture “communication and organizational development” (KOE) at RWTH Aachen University has been redesigned. This lecture, organized by the Institute Cluster IMA/ZLW & IfU at RWTH Aachen University, is mainly frequented by up to nearly 1.300 students of the faculty of mechanical engineering and inherent part of the bachelor-curriculum. The following practical example prospects the multi-angulation of didactical concepts and shows up innovative educational teaching. View full abstract»

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  • Incorporating augmented reality content in Engineering Design Graphics materials

    Page(s): 35 - 40
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    This paper describes the development and integration of augmented reality content with traditional Engineering Design Graphics materials, and presents the results of a preliminary usability study conducted with Freshman Engineering students. The resources developed combine printed text and images with interactive three-dimensional content with the purpose of enhancing the understanding of technical graphics concepts and improving the students' visualization skills. In general, students had a very positive reaction when first presented with the materials and showed an optimistic attitude while interacting with the content. Additionally, augmented reality materials promote the development of self-directed learning skills and self-assessment. View full abstract»

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  • Aptitude digging education in project-based course

    Page(s): 41 - 43
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    Students from China are always intelligent but lack of creativity. These are somewhat stereotypes. This is partially because of the reserved or implicit culture. In an objective point of view, it is also because of the limited education resources. In the single assessment criterion education circumstance, students chase for the high marks even without knowing their interests or aptitudes. In a 12-week open experimental course, Optoelectronic Instrument Experiments (OIE), we try to encourage the students to dig their aptitudes and bring them into full play to earn more credits for the course. Self-assessment and mutual-evaluation for technical proficiency, communication skills, collaboration and leadership are carried out for the final evaluation. We also communicate with the students the speciality and skill a qualified engineer needs. We hope to help them prepare themselves for engineering-related jobs in the further. View full abstract»

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  • Redesigning engineering courses by introducing digital ink technology

    Page(s): 44 - 49
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1321 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We applied the How People Learn framework (HPLf) in two different higher education contexts. On one hand, a first-year core course on Computer Technology, taught at the Computer Engineering Degree Program at Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain. On the other hand, two Food Chemistry related courses, taught at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico, as part of food engineering undergraduate and food science graduate programs. The goal of these works was to redesign studied courses at both universities from a lecture-based format to a "challenge-based" format by using Tablet PCs and digital ink. In order to support the studied approach, different ink-enabled software tools were utilized. Class sessions were enhanced through the usage of Classroom Presenter, a pen-based interaction system that supports the sharing of digital ink on slides between instructors and students. InkSurvey also allowed teachers to pose questions, receive instantly digital ink responses, and provide real-time formative feedback. Some other tools such as PDF Annotator and Ardesia helped instructors to review coursework and assignments and provide formative feedback as well. We studied our approach over the two last academic years by observing classes at both universities, obtaining selected student achievement indicators and conducting surveys with students and instructors. View full abstract»

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  • Understanding engineering identity through structural equation modeling

    Page(s): 50 - 56
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (196 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Understanding students' self-ascribed engineering identity may be one way to understand engineering choices and to help recruit new students to the engineering pipeline. In our framework, identity is composed of students' perceptions of their performance/competence, recognition, and interest in a domain. This paper outlines the creation of a model of engineering choice based on this framework. The data utilized in this analysis come from the nationally-representative Sustainability and Gender in Engineering (SaGE) survey. Distributed during the fall of 2011, the survey was completed by 6,772 college students across the United States enrolled in first-year English courses. A structural equation model was built using previously validated constructs of mathematics, physics, and general science identities. These three constructs predict an engineering identity which, in turn, influences the choice of engineering in college. The model is a step towards a better understanding of the choice of an engineering major in college. View full abstract»

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  • Student demographics and outcomes in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

    Page(s): 57 - 63
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (381 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Using longitudinal data from eleven institutions in the U.S., this study explores the persistence of students in the two largest engineering disciplines: Electrical (EE) and Mechanical (ME). These programs have large enrollments of students but small percentages of women. Despite these similarities, enrollment and persistence in these majors is qualitatively different. In this research, we adopt an intersectional framework and consider both race/ethnicity and gender. Our results show that ME attracts more White students while EE attracts more Black and Asian students. Hispanic men and women are attracted in similar numbers to EE and ME. Overall, ME has higher graduation rates than EE and women have higher rates than men in both disciplines. Transfer students of nearly all race/gender groups are more likely to persist to graduation than starters in the same disciplines. Black and Hispanic female transfer students are particularly successful in EE and ME, which suggests enhancing the transfer pathway as a strategy to improve diversity. The success of ME starters causes a shift in the demographic profile between starters and graduates. ME could learn from EE how to diversify its enrollment and EE could learn from ME strategies to retain its diverse students. These findings suggest that program factors affect each race-gender group differently. Therefore, the success of recruitment and retention strategies may depend on considering both the target population and the discipline. View full abstract»

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  • Student perceptions of andragogical orientation and student learning

    Page(s): 64 - 68
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    In order to develop critical thinkers and capable problem solvers it is important to understand the needs of today's engineering student and design instruction to meet those needs. An important component in that discussion is the degree to which students perceive themselves as adults versus child learners. The issue is important for educators; particularly those who teach senior-level courses, because research on adult learners points toward different classroom methods than those used for children. In this paper, we focus on capstone design - a course often structured to simulate a professional work experience to understand student beliefs regarding their self-perceived orientation as an adult learner and how those beliefs are related to a) their self-perceived learning outcomes and b) the value they place on forms and frequency of feedback. To examine this impact, we draw on the concept of “andragogy.” This study utilizes student data from a 2011 survey of capstone students. The data includes student beliefs regarding the andragogical assumptions, self-reports of their learning, and perceptions of the capstone course. The findings support Knowles' andragogical assumptions and indicate that student learning in project-based courses have the potential to have higher andragogical orientations. These findings provide insight into the characteristics of the capstone student and provide opportunities for faculty to tailor teaching to meet student needs. View full abstract»

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  • Quantitative assessment of student motivation to characterize differences between engineering majors

    Page(s): 69 - 74
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    Student motivation is often undervalued in comparison to academic performance measures for evaluating changes in higher education. There is a need to consider the affective domain in reform, in addition to academic performance. The effect of student motivation toward short- and long-term goals on student actions is not well understood. To assess this need, two research questions are addressed: 1) What elements of a motivation instrument designed for first-year engineering students are valid for upper-level engineering students? 2) How do motivations differ for upper level students in different engineering majors? Students in their major-specific engineering courses were surveyed with the Motivation and Attitudes in Engineering (MAE) instrument, which assesses long-term goal related expectancy, and perceptions of present and future tasks/goals. Short-term task self-efficacy was assessed using items adapted from the Attitudes and Approaches to Problem Solving survey. Results based on comparisons between major, class, and grade point average (GPA) showed: 1) Higher GPA indicates significantly higher expectancies and self-efficacy; 2) Bioengineers have significantly higher expectancies than mechanical engineers; and 3) Juniors have significantly higher GPAs, expectancies, and more positive perceptions of the present than sophomores. Results indicate that students' motivations toward short- and long-term goals may influence actions toward learning. View full abstract»

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