Instructional materials and instructors' guides are being developed
for all of the "soft" EC
2000 student outcomes. The EC 2000 Modules group has undertaken
the development of instructional modules to enhance our students
skills in four general areas: technical skills, communication skills,
professional skills, and ethical-societal skills. Modules are designed
to fit into any upper-level engineering course that needs to deal
explicitly with one or more of the EC 2000 student outcomes a-through-k
criteria. Each module will contain material for three 50-minute
lectures and make use of active/cooperative learning methods. Each
will contain a justification for the material, learning objectives,
an assessment process, multiple student assignments, activities
to build the skill and bridge it into the discipline-specific course
content, and an instructor's guide.
EC 2000 INSTRUCTIONAL MODULES
REVIEWERS AND POTENTIAL USERS
- We encourage engineering instructors to review these modules.
- If you have an interest in trying one or more modules, please
see the contact the developer or Dr.
Russ Pimmel, the project coordinator. Also, you should look
user's page for information.
- Again, we urge you to note the status of the development
of each module.
- Dr. Russ Pimmel,
firstname.lastname@example.org, 205.348.1753, or the individual coordinators
of the modules.
- We developed these modules as a part of the Foundation Coalition
with support from the Engineering Education Program of the National
Science Foundation under Award Number EEC-9802942.
References for Further Information
- D. Woods et al. (1997) Developing
Problem Solving Skills: The McMaster Problem Solving Program,
J. Eng. Ed. 86:75-91
Abstract: This paper describes a 25-year project in which
we defined problem solving, identified effective methods for developing
students skill in problem solving, implemented a series
of four required courses to develop the skill, and evaluated the
effectiveness of the program. Four research projects are summarized
in which we identified which teaching methods failed to develop
problem solving skill and which methods were successful in developing
the skills. We found that students need both comprehension of
Chemical Engineering and what we call general problem solving
skill to solve problems successfully. We identified 37 general
problem solving skills. We use 120 hours of workshops spread over
four required courses to develop the skills. Each skill is built
(using content-independent activities), bridged (to apply the
skill in the content-specific domain of Chemical Engineering)
and extended (to use the skill in other contexts and contents
and in everyday life). The tests and examinations of process skills,
TEPS, that assess the degree to which the students can apply the
skills are described. We illustrate how self-assessment was used.
- D. Woods, R. Felder, A Rugarcia and J. Stice, Future
of Engineering Education III Developing Critical Skills,
Chem. Eng. Ed. 34:108-117, 2000.
Abstract: In third paper in the series we consider the
application of some of those methods to the development of the
desired skills. Process skills are “soft” skills used in the application
of knowledge. The degree to which students develop these skills
determines how they solve problems, write reports, function in
teams, self-assess and do performance reviews of others, go about
learning new knowledge, and manage stress when they have to cope
with change. Many instructors intuitively believe that process
skills are important, but most are unaware of the fundamental
research that provides a foundation for development of the skills.
Their efforts to help their students develop the skills may consequently
be less effective than they might wish.
Fostering the development of skills in students is challenging,
to say the least. Process skills—which have to do with attitudes
and values as much as knowledge—are particularly challenging in
that they are hard to define explicitly, let alone to develop
and assess. We might be able to sense that a team is not working
well, for example, but how do we make that intuitive judgment
quantitative? How might we provide feedback that is helpful to
the team members? How can we develop our students’ confidence
in their teamwork skills?
Research done over the past 30 years offers answers to these
questions. In this paper, we suggest research-backed methods to
help our students develop critical skills and the confidence to
apply them. As was the case for the instructional methods discussed
in introduced in Part II,3 all of the suggestions given in this
part are relevant to engineering education, can be implemented
within the context of the ordinary engineering classroom, are
not the sorts of methods that most engineering professors would
feel uncomfortable doing, are consistent with modern theories
of learning, and have been tried and found effective by more than
Research suggests that the development of any skill is best facilitated
by giving students practice and not by simply talking about or
demonstrating what to do. The instructor’s role is primarily that
of a coach, encouraging the students to achieve the target attitudes
and skills and providing constructive feedback on their efforts.
A number of approaches to process skill development have been
formulated and proven to be effective in science and engineering
education, including Guided Design, active/cooperative learning
approaches, Thinking- Aloud Pairs Problem Solving (TAPPS) and
the McMaster Problem Solving program.
- Seat, E. and Lord, S. (1999) Enabling
Effective Engineering Teams: A Program For Teaching Interaction
Skills, J. Eng. Ed. 88:385-390.
Abtract: A program for teaching interaction skills to
engineers and engineering students has been developed. Based on
cognitive style theory, this customized program uses the typical
engineer’s problem solving strengths to teach skills of interviewing,
questioning, exchanging ideas, and managing conflict. The goal
of this program is to enable these problem solvers to apply their
technical skills more effectively by improving interpersonal interactions.
The modular nature of the training program makes it easily transportable,
and all or part of it can be used in courses that require students
to work in teams. This paper discusses what makes this training
“a good fit” with engineering students, the background for its
content, and the program’s six modules. Personal experiences with
teaching this material and recommendations for implementation
are discussed. Similarities and differences between teaching the
engineering professional and student, themes of student perceptions
about the training, and future directions are also addressed.