Project Enhanced Learning: Addressing ABET Outcomes and Linking the Curriculum Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • This paper discusses the development of project enhanced courses that combine the best of problem-based learning and traditional "topic" focused instruction. This approach addresses the need to ensure that students receive the technical content required while developing critical problem solving skills. This balance between skill development and technical content assurance is a key feature of this approach and a main difference to problem-based learning. It is also different from traditional approaches where a project is simply added to the tasks the students are expected to accomplish, and the impacts on student learning are significantly different. The paper presents a case study of the implementation of the projects into a junior level introductory structural analysis course, including details into the goals of the projects, and the changes made to make room for the projects. Assessment and evaluation of the impact of these projects include an evaluation on how the courses and projects address specific department and accreditation board for engineering and technology learning outcomes. Student perceptions are evaluated immediately at the conclusion of the course and substantially after the conclusion of the course (while in a senior design course), enabling the assessment of knowledge and skill transfer. Performance in this senior design course is also used to assess the impact of these projects by comparing students with: (1) a project enhanced experience; (2) a project added experience; and (3) no project experience in their structural analysis course. Those students with a project enhanced experience perform much better than students in either of the other groups in the follow-on course, and the contrast with a project added experience is particularly striking. The process of balancing the outcomes for this course with the needs of follow-on courses, and the tradeoffs that are needed to accomplish both could be applied to any junior level engineering course. © 2009 ASCE.

author list (cited authors)

  • Barroso, L. R., & Morgan, J. R.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • January 2009