2018 FYEE Conference

Development of Inclusive Freshmen Engineering Assignments

Presented at Technical Session II

At Midsized Northeastern University, freshmen engineering students take an introductory course in the fundamentals of engineering. In this course, students learn the fundamentals of engineering that they will use for years to come. Beyond helpful tools such as CAD and other computer software, the course offers students a chance to explore other topics relevant to engineering. This includes, disciplinary boundaries of engineering, engineering ethics, and the design process. While these topics can be given a cursory lecture, there exists opportunities to expand on these themes and topics. Given practices of inclusive classrooms, a faculty member can create engaging ways to have students explore these topics and encourage the development of good research skills and critical thinking. Inclusive practices can include practices such as decentralizing western examples in engineering, showcasing underrepresented engineers, allowing students to draw connections with their personal lives, enabling different styles of learning, and allowing students to teach themselves. This paper will showcase three such assignments and explore the development, rationale, and results for each as well as how inclusivity is used for each assignment. One assignment allows students to investigate the disciplinary divisions of engineering, allowing students to have the chance to educate one another on the history and nature of engineering disciplines as well as showcase unique individuals that have made some contributions to engineering. Another assignment allows students to explore the design process by comparing engineering design to the design methods used by non-engineering fields. This will allow students to see how design is used across the world and how it can enable cross-disciplinary work. The final assignment involves students exploring ethical, moral, and social issues in engineering through the use of movies that highlight actual events in engineering. The use of visual media to reflect issues in engineering can help engage more visual and reflective students and allows all students to observe the direct implications of ethics to engineering and how it affects society. This paper can be used to stimulate the development and elaboration of other assignments that have similar qualities and objectives.

  1. Mr. Tiago R Forin Rowan University [biography]
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