Technology Enabled Curriculum for a First-Year Engineering Program

For the past three years, all first year engineering students at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology have enrolled in a common introduction to engineering course. The course features a common curriculum contained on a course CD, utilization of technology tools, an engineering design project, and introduction to technical writing. All sections of the course are taught in a single classroom that is set up with tables and equipped with wireless notebook PCs. Technology tools are focused on collection, manipulation, and presentation of data using electronic portfolios, a permanent digital archive, spreadsheet tools, and data loggers. The use of spreadsheets for solving engineering problems is illustrated through example problems and several tutorial exercises that are both contained on the curricular CD. Portable data loggers are utilized in lab projects for collecting data that is then manipulated and analyzed on a spreadsheet. The design project requires students teams to function within specified design parameters, construct a simple device that is then used to collect data, analyze the data, and present the results both in an oral presentation and a formal technical document. In this paper, examples of technology uses in the curricular materials, engineering problems, and design projects used will be illustrated and discussed.


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