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Conference Proceeding

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This Complete Evidence-based Practice paper will describe a longitudinal study of 6 years of enhanced attainment of course and programmatic outcomes in a Fundamentals of Engineering course. A process of continuous improvement of active learning techniques to achieve each course goal and demonstrate each outcome has resulted in more effective development of first-year engineering students. One of the signature assignments in the course, the short midterm research paper and presentation, demonstrates effective incorporation of elements from The Critical Thinking Initiative. It is a framework to teach a mentality of critical thinking, guide development of a researched writing piece, and as a rubric instrument to assess student critical thinking through writing. Student oral communication is another key outcome. A subjective rubric has been replaced with a transparent, straightforward, binary check sheet rubric. Another signature assignment in the course is a team-based design challenge. Evaluation of student performance was difficult and subjective. Through continuous improvement built on student feedback we developed a transparent method of evaluating the design challenge. We demonstrate the effectiveness of a simple check-sheet style rubric for evaluation of demonstrated design thinking and project management skills in the team-based design challenge. Results of this 6-year study show steady achievement of the course outcomes, with progress toward achieving all course goals.


© 2018 American Society for Engineering Education

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Publication Title

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah

Published Citation

Munden, R., & Arambulo Rodriguez, M., & Belfadel, D., & Zabinski, M. (2018, June), Critical Thinking, Design Practices, and Assessment in a Fundamentals of Engineering Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah.