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  • INDEX

    Author’s Corner

    Pedagogy for Changing Behaviors, by Raymond B. Landis

    Introduction to Engineering Course for High School Teachers and Counselors

    Review of Paper on Engineering Student Attitudes

    Group Building

    Achievement, Motivation and Success Behavior by Edward Prather

    Teaching Pedagogy - "Change-Up"

    NSF-Sponsored Chautauqua Short Course

    Orientation - Scavenger Hunt

    Building Student Commitment to Engineering

    Personal Development - Questions for Success

    Utilizing the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Jacqueline M. Slaughter

    Improving Engineering Guidance

    Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

    EAS 100: A Hybrid Approach to Engineering and Computer Science Student Orientation

    Call for Papers

    Author's Corner

    This is the third issue of Success 101. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide a forum for engineering faculty and administrators, engineering student service staff, and minority engineering program staff to share ideas about how to conduct an Introduction to Engineering course that will significantly enhance engineering student success.

    The effectiveness of various endeavors within higher education vary greatly. Take for example, teaching students calculus. Although, we might disagree in the specific extent, we would probably agree that by and large this works. Students that want to learn calculus register for a course in that subject. The professor, an unquestioned expert in the subject, lectures on the content; the students review their lecture notes, study the text material and then do assigned homework; and in the end pass a series of examinations that demonstrate their level of mastery of the subject. Students that receive a satisfactory final grade are judged to have adequate mastery to go on to the next course in calculus.

    This consistency of effectiveness is not achieved in Introduction to Engineering courses. Generally, these courses operate at only the smallest fraction of their potential. Often it is not clear why the course is part of the curriculum. It is not a prerequisite for anything else and no one is very clear on its purpose. Few faculty want to teach the course, but someone gets stuck with the job. That person is not well-prepared for the task, but resolutely sets about figuring out how to "fill the time." A series of activities (lectures, speakers, videotapes, tours) are planned that have little purpose other than to fill the time. The students label the course "Sleep 101," and "take their medicine" as they have been taught to do.

    What a shame, because the need to help students transition into university level study in math, science, and engineering is so great. Many students bring such a myriad of deficiencies to engineering study deficiencies which have very little to do with their level of preparation or their intellectual ability. Among these can be: absence of clear goals; weak commitment; inadequate study skills; unrealistic view of what’s expected; low self-esteem; lack of confidence; external "locus-of-control;" weak social skills; lack of sophistication in dealing with user-unfriendly systems; and obligations from friends, family, and outside employment. Many of these obstacles to success can be mitigated if not completely eliminated through an Introduction to Engineering course having a "student development/student success" focus. Let’s make these courses as effective in meeting their objective of enhancing student success as Calculus I is in its objective of teaching our students calculus.

    Ray Landis

    IMPROVING ENGINEERING GUIDANCE

    Introduction to Engineering Course for High School Teachers and Counselors

    by Raymond B. Landis, California State University, Los Angeles

    Cal State L.A. has received a $20,000 grant from the ARCO Foundation to deliver a modified version of its ENGR 100, Introduction to Engineering course to high school math and science teachers and college and career guidance counselors.

    The purpose of the course is to improve participants’ effectiveness in providing guidance to high school students in three areas:

    Engineering as a career opportunity

    Engineering as a field of study

    Strategies for success in university study of math, science, and engineering

    The course will be offered to 30 participants in summer, 1997 (July 17, 18, and 19) on a three-day short course format and to another 30 participants in fall, 1997 on regular quarter schedule (Tu 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. for eleven weeks).

    The grant will cover all fees, books, and materials, and provide each participant with a $150 stipend to cover incidental expenses associated with attending the course. Text for the course will be Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career.

    The effectiveness of the course will be reported on in future issues of Success 101. It is hoped that other engineering colleges will develop similar initiatives to improve the engineering guidance capability of teachers and counselors at their feeder high schools.

    CALL FOR PAPERS

    ASEE Freshman Programs Division

    The Freshman Programs Division is seeking papers for the 1998 ASEE Annual Conference to be held June 28-July 1, 1998 in Seattle, Washington. Topics should focus on educational activities associated with first-year students, including advising programs, the use of computers and computer software instruction, creative problem-solving courses, integrating design into the freshman year, hands-on problem-solving courses, retention programs, and precollege orientation and recruiting programs. Submit a one-page abstract by September 30, 1997 to: Eric Soulsby, University of Connecticut, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Storrs, CT 06269; Telephone: (806) 486-2223; e-mail: egdean@uconnvm.uconn.edu.

    ASEE ANNUAL CONFERENCE

    Come visit us (Ray Landis and Marty Roden) at the Discovery Press booth (#307) in the Exhibit Hall at the ASEE Annual Conference, June 16-18, 1997 in Milwaukee. We would be pleased to talk with you about our two texts Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career by R. B. Landis and Electronic Design: From Concept to Reality, Third Edition by M. Roden and G. Carpenter.

    Also you are invited to attend Session #2653. In this session, sponsored by the ASEE Freshman Programs Division, Ray Landis will be presenting a paper titled, "Enhancing Engineering Student Success: A Pedagogy for Changing Behaviors." The session is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17.

    MOTIVATIONAL STORY

    Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

    [Note: This story was provided by Dr. Edward N. Prather, University of Cincinnati]

    The story surrounding the building of the Brooklyn Bridge is a wonderful illustration of the power of persistence. Everyone thought that building a bridge spanning the East River between Manhattan Island and Brooklyn was impossible. Everyone, that is, except John Roebling. It took him eleven years to convince the politicians and his engineering peers that it could be done. Finally, in 1866, he was named Chief Engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge project. Just one week later, he was killed in a ferry boat accident ironically, on the same ferry that his bridge would have made obsolete.

    Everyone thought the bridge project would die with John Roebling. However, his son Washington had heard his father talk so often about building the bridge that he believed it could be done. Washington Roebling became an engineer and proceeded to turn his father’s dream into a reality.

    Three years into the project, tragedy struck once more. The bridge was being built using caissons watertight chambers that supported the bridge’s foundations. After working in the highly compressed atmosphere of the caisson, Washington came to the surface too rapidly and was stricken with caissons disease, (known to divers as the bends). He suffered permanent brain damage and was unable to walk or talk. It was impossible for him to go to the work site or to communicate with his workers.

    In the face of this adversity, he persisted yet again. He developed a kind of Morse Code using his right index finger, the only part of his body that he could still control. Using this method, he was able to communicate with his wife Emily. Every day for the next ten years, he tapped out instructions for her to carry to the work site. Following his instructions, Emily learned the necessary mathematics and engineering skills to enable her to carry out his directives. The bridge was completed in May, 1883, and Emily Roebling led the grand opening parade across the Brooklyn Bridge. Seated in his wheel chair, Washington watched the parade from his apartment window. No doubt he was tapping out a message to his father: "We finally did it!"

    Armed with your purpose, a positive attitude, and persistence, you too can do it.

    NSF-SPONSORED CHAUTAUQUA COURSE

    Forty-five eager participants attended the second offering of an NSF-sponsored Chautauqua three-day short course "Enhancing Student Success Through a Model Introduction to Engineering Course," March 20-22, 1997 in Los Angeles.

    The purpose of the course was to train participants in the delivery of an Introduction to Engineering course having primarily a "student development/student success" focus. An additional fifty-eight participants attended the same course at Clark-Atlanta University, May 5-7, 1997.

    We plan to offer the course twice next year in March, 1998 in Los Angeles; and at a location in the East in May, 1998.

    PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

    Building Student Commitment to Engineering

    (Note: This was excerpted from R. B. Landis, "Building Student Commitment to Engineering," Proceedings of 1996 ASEE Annual Conference, Washington, D.C.)

    Perhaps the first step is to convince students of the importance of having a strong commitment to engineering as a field of study and as a career goal. Students may not be in touch with the fact that they know very little about engineering and don’t realize that their commitment to becoming an engineer is not sufficiently strong.

    Ask the students in your Introduction to Engineering class: "Is success in engineering study the number one priority in your life?" You may be surprised to find that very few hands go up.

    The importance of commitment can be brought home by emphasizing that the most likely reason they will fail to complete their engineering program is that they will encounter some adversity and give up.

    One of the primary reasons for the lack of strong commitment is that students know very little about engineering and very little about the rewards and opportunities of engineering careers. One way to uncover this is to have students in the Introduction to Engineering class respond extemporaneously to the question: ""If your grandmother asked you what engineering is, what would you tell her?"

    Help students understand that it is likely that they have a better understanding of most of the other respected professions available in the society (e.g., lawyer, doctor, accountant, minister, pharmacist, scientist, mathematician). Have a general discussion of why they have had so little exposure to engineering.

    Teach students that learning about engineering is a lifelong process, but it should begin now. Give them the perspective that they should take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about engineering. Have them brainstorm all the ideas of things they could do on their own initiative. The list might include:

    Go on field trips to industry.

    Talk to industry representatives at career day programs.

    Browse the resource library in the career planning and placement center.

    Join the professional engineering society corresponding to their major.

    Bead biographies of successful engineers.

    Get an engineering-related summer job.

    Read an Introduction to Engineering text.

    Pick a product (e.g., bicycle, car alarm, microwave oven) and research what role engineers play in its production.

    Interview a practicing engineer.

    Search the Internet for information on specific engineering disciplines.

    Write to an engineering society (IEEE, ASME, etc.) requesting information.

    Assign some of these tasks as homework in your Introduction to Engineering course, but also encourage students to engage in them on their own initiative.

    PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

    Utilizing the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

    by Jacqueline M. Slaughter, California State University, Los Angeles

    An effective way I have found to orient a freshman engineering class is to give the students a framework for success. Development of this framework begins by having the students realize that just as there are "bad habits," there are also "good habits."

    One excellent source of good habits is Stephen R. Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1989). While I teach all seven habits to my students, the most relevant and useful are the first two: (1) be proactive; and (2) begin with the end in mind.

    Habit #1 forces students to look at themselves critically and discover what they can do to make their dreams become a reality. This habit is vital because it makes students realize that they must "swear off" everything that hinders them from achieving their goals. This means they must eliminate all negative factors and distractions like procrastination and accept responsibility for both their successes and failures. Coming to grips with Habit #1 is often daunting for first-semester freshmen, but it is extremely critical.

    Habit #2 is effective because it speaks to students from where they are now. It shows students that whatever they do now affects whether or not they achieve their goals in the future. Within the purview of Habit #2, I encourage my students to work on managing their time effectively, setting priorities, and taking the initiative to begin and complete projects. Just being able to do these things goes far in giving students a sense of self-control and self-efficacy. I also stress the importance of being able to handle many priorities at one time. Oftentimes, students don’t realize the importance or rather the art of juggling multiple priorities. When they do, though, they start to re-think their mindsets. They start to see themselves achieving their goals and mastering their obstacles.

    Covey’s fourth habit, think win-win, is also very important. At first glimpse, this may not seem particularly relevant to engineering freshmen, since their main concern is their own performance. However, Covey wisely observes that the highest form of success derives from becoming interdependent with others. True successes, he asserts, come from independent people learning to depend on others to come up with the best solutions and approaches to problems. A "win-win" approach produces results that satisfy all parties, while making each participant successful. We apply this habit often when we encourage students to seek tutoring or work in study groups. Thinking "win-win," also helps students realize that just as their personal success is important, they have a responsibility to ensure the success of others as well.

    My students and I often have fun when studying these habits for success. And each time I teach them, I get more rooted in what Covey is saying. I think you will find them useful in imparting to your students the necessity of taking charge of their studies and helping them pursue their goals and aspirations.

    Studying Engineering

    Those who order Studying Engineering beginning in July, , 1997 (the Seventh printing) will find an improved binding which will eliminate any problem of loose pages and allow the book to lay flatter. The following pages have been updated (copies of the new information will appear in the Fall, 1997 newsletter).

    Page 24 - The table of numbers of graduates has been updated from 1990/91 data to 1993/94.
    Page 30 - The table for starting salaries has been updated from 1993/94 to 1995/96.
    Page 42 - The table of sizes of engineering disciplines has been updated from 1993/94 to 1995/96.
    Pages 64-65 - The telephone numbers of engineering societies have been updated where needed, and Internet addresses have been added.
    Page 128 - The number of BS graduate by ethnic and gender groups has been updated from 1993/94 data to 1995/96.
    Page 200 - The number of colleges in the first paragraph of 6.1 has been updated.

    Studying Engineering by Raymond B. Landis is published by Discovery Press (www.discovery-press.com) and distri-buted by Legal Books Distributing. The book can be ordered by calling 1-800-200-7110 [in Los Angeles County, call 213-526-7110]. Ask for the book by title or by ISBN Number 0-9646969-0-8. Your order will be shipped the same day you place it. Retail price (single copies) is $22.95 plus shipping. For multiple copies, ask for the bookstore discount price of $17.22 plus shipping.

    TEACHING PEDAGOGY

    "Change-Up"

    [Note: This article is excerpted from Joan Middendorf and Alan Kalish, "The Change-Up in Lectures," National Teaching & Learning Forum, Volume 5, Number 2, The Oryx Press, Phoenix, Arizona, 1996]

    The list below presents over a dozen "change-up" options. You should be able to find a few here that work for you. On that dark night of the teaching soul, when you have run out of ideas for a change-up, pick something new from this list.

    Student Generated Questions:

    Write a Question

    The simplest of these techniques: instead of saying "Are there any questions?" ask each student to write down one to three they have about the material just covered. Then ask several (volunteers at first) what their questions are and answer them (or get students to answer them). Having students write their questions down gives them all a chance to acknowledge what they really do not know. Seeing the questions in writing helps them feel authorized to ask them.

    Exam Questions

    Alone, or in pairs, or groups of three, students write an exam question about material just covered in class. (They should follow the format of your actual exams essay, multiple-choice, etc.) After a brief time for discussion, you select at least four groups to report their questions to the whole class. Write these on the board and ask other students to critique them (give specific criteria). You can collect all of the questions in writing; use the best ones on the exam!

    Problem Solving

    Paired Discussions

    In three or four minutes, have students discuss something with the person next to them: summarize class so far; react to theory, concepts, or information being presented; relate today’s material to past learning, etc. Make your questions as specific as you can.

    Think (or Write) - Pair - Share

    Pose a question which requires analysis, evaluation, or synthesis. Each student thinks or writes on this question for one minute, then turns to the person seated nearby to compare ideas. Then the pairs share their ideas with some larger group (pairs of pairs, section of the class, or whole group).

    Concrete Images

    To help students make specific references to the text, go around the room and ask each one to state a concrete image/scene/event/moment that stands out. List these on the board. Follow up by having them find themes or patterns, missing points, etc. Then discussion can move to analysis with a common collection of facts.

    Generating Ideas:

    Buzz Groups

    Give one or two prepared questions to groups of three to five students. Each group records its discussion and reports to the whole class. Then help the class synthesize the groups’ answers.

    Truth Statements

    Ask several small groups to decide on three things they know to be true about some particular issue. This is useful when introducing a new topic which students think they know well, but where their assumptions need to be examined.

    Kisses and Crackers

    To overcome the flagging of attention, when you notice energy and attention diminishing, pass out crackers and Hershey’s kisses. The professor who taught us this technique tells that research in "accelerated learning" shows that eating about once per hour actually promotes learning. Not only does the food wake students up, the mere act of passing the bags around changes the activity and refocuses attention. He says that this also helps students feel good about his class and him an overcome science anxiety.

    Controversial Topics:

    Reaction Sheet

    After presenting a controversial topic, pass around several sheets to collect written reactions to these three questions: "What ideas do you question?" "What ideas are new to you?" and "What ideas really hit home?" Follow up with discussion. Variations are to ask each student to write a sheet or to have small groups do so.

    Value Lines

    Students line up according to how strongly they agree or disagree with a proposition or how strongly they value something. This gives a visual reading of the continuum of feelings in the group. Next, sort students into heterogeneous groups for discussion by grouping one from either end with two from the middle. Ask students to listen to differing viewpoints in their groups and to paraphrase opposing positions fairly.

    Forced Debate

    Ask all students who agree with a proposition to sit on one side of the room and all opposed on the other side. Hanging signs describing the proposition helps. It is important that they physically take a position and that opposing sides face each other. After they have sorted themselves out, switch the signs and force them to argue for the position with which they disagree. This activity which pushes "Value Lines" one step further is one of very few activities that plunge people into temporary ownership of viewpoints in opposition to their own strongly held opinions.

    Student Self-Evaluation

    Have the students write a brief evaluation of their learning.

    After an essay (or project) have them answer the following: Now that you have finished your essay [or project], please answer the following questions. There are no right or wrong answers; I am interested in your analysis of your experience writing this essay [or doing this project].

    What problems did you face during the writing of this essay [doing this project]?

    What solutions did you find for those problems?

    What do you think are the strengths of this essay [project]?

    What alternative plans for this essay [project] did you consider? Why did you reject them?

    Imagine you had more time to write this essay [work on this project]. What would you do if you were to continue working on it?

    For an expanded list of activities and a fully-referenced copy of Middendorf’s and Kalish’s article, send a request by e-mail to: kalish@ucs.indiana.edu

    Community Building

    Group Building

    Community building is one of the five key themes of an Introduction to Engineering course having a "student development" focus. Building students in the class into a learning community logically divides itself into three stages:

    Socialization - Each student knows every other student in the class.

    Group building - Student have a strong sense of group and are committed to a high level of mutual support.

    Human relations training - Students have the interpersonal skills necessary to interact with each other in a positive and effective manner.

    The "socialization" stage and the "human relations training" stage were discussed in the spring 1996 and fall 1996 issues of Success 101. This article will address the "group building" stage.

    Group Building

    The purpose of the "group building" stage is to create a strong sense of group cohesiveness and an attitude of mutual support. Building this sense of group is not as straightforward as getting students to know each other and as working to improve their interpersonal skills. But this process of shifting students perspective from being "individual-centered" to being "group-centered" from a spirit of competition to a spirit of cooperation and mutual support is extremely important. Not only will this shift enhance students’ effectiveness as engineering students but it will enhance their effectiveness throughout their lives and their careers.

    Discuss with your students the idea that people are more effective working in groups than as separate individuals. Point out to them that they are each other’s most valuable resource. Discuss the idea that if they agree to define themselves as a supportive group, the payoff will be that each of them will be in a highly supportive environment the type of environment that will promote their individual success.

    There are a variety of ways to build a group identity an espirit de corps, if you will. Have a group photo taken by the campus photographer and provide a copy to each student in the class. This reinforces the group identity and can be helpful to you and them in learning names. Have the students select a name for the group. Develop the class into an organization, much like a student organization with committees and subcommittees organized around specific purposes (e.g., arranging speakers, organizing a volleyball game, putting on an end-of-the-term party, making a class T-shirt). Encourage the group to take on an academic challenge goal (e.g. "Last year the students in my Introduction to Engineering class achieved an average fall term GPA of 2.55. Are you willing to set a goal of beating that?").

    Develop an address and telephone list for all who are willing to share that information. Get all of the students an e-mail address and encourage them to communicate with each other outside of the class. Where some of the students are in common sections of other classes, encourage them to get together for group study sessions. Suggest that they do things with other members of the group such as attending an engineering student organization meeting or going to a sporting event or cultural event on campus. In subgroups, have them conduct a scavenger hunt to learn about campus resources similar to that described on page _____ of this newsletter.

    This is just a partial list of those things you can do to build the students in your Introduction to Engineering course into a supportive group. You can come up with many more ideas. If you try it, it’ll work, the students will benefit, and both you and they will have fun in the process.

    PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

    Questions for Success

    Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame football coach and motivation speaker, provides four questions he asks of his players which are essential to individual and team success:

    Can I trust you to do the right thing?

    Are you committed to do your best?

    Do you treat others as you would like to be treated?

    Can you tell me why you are going to succeed?

    Have students in your Introduction to Engineering course answer these questions as a written homework assignment and then lead an in-class discussion around their responses.

    ORIENTATION

    Scavenger Hunt

    Jeff Jawitz, Educational Development Officer in the College of Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, conducts a scavenger hunt in his Introduction to Studying Engineering course to help students discover some of the sources of information available to them. He divides his class into groups and sends each group off for 45 minutes to learn things like the following:

    What should you do if you lose your UCT Registration Card?

    How much does it cost to share a double room in Kopano Residence and eat two meals a day (breakfast and dinner)?

    What is the date of your first mathematics class test?

    Until what date can a student withdraw from a whole course in the curriculum?

    What is the name of the head of your Department?

    How many copies of A Handbook of Writing for Engineers by Joan van Emden are there in the library?

    How much does a 1995 UCT Student Diary cost?

    Photocopy the front page of a math examination paper (Math 103 or Math 105) from any year and hand it in with the answers to the above questions.

    There are several versions of this list. A small prize is awarded for the group that has performed the tasks and answered the most questions correctly.

    TEACHERS NEED MOTIVATION TOO

    A bit of motivation for the teachers of Introduction to Engineering courses is provided by Dr. Mike Kelly, Northrop-Grumman Engineering Endowed Chair, California State University, Los Angeles.

    If you are planning for a year ahead . . . sow rice

    If you are planning for ten years . . . plant trees;

    If you are planning for a hundred years . . . educate people.

    Chinese Wisdom

    TEACHING METHODOLOGY

    Pedagogy for Changing Behaviors

    by Raymond B. Landis, California State University, Los Angeles

    Perhaps the most effective structure for enhancing engineering student success is an academic year course having a primary focus on student development. Such a course represents a "tool," and like any tool, it will only accomplish what it is capable of when it is in the hands of a skilled craftsperson. Realizing this potential requires engineering faculty and academic staff who want to learn how to be those "skilled craftspersons."

    Being a "skilled craftsperson" in the teaching of such a course requires both a vision and also the capability to deliver on that vision. The vision as I see it is best stated as the following:

    If I can have 30 or 40 hours with a group of students, I can create a major "life-changing" experience for those students one that will significantly enhance their success.

    This is a lofty vision, one that will best be accomplished if the instructor adopts a "student-centered" pedagogy that is designed to provide students with exposure through experiential learning to key "success" behaviors. When students experience a behavior that works, there is a good chance that it will become habitual.

    Changing student attitudes is a five-step sequential process:

    Establishing a baseline

    Delivering knowledge

    Building commitment

    Requiring implementation

    Processing the outcomes

    Let’s illustrate this pedagogy with an example. In our Introduction to Engineering class, we decide to work on the following behavioral objective:

    Students make effective use of their peers by frequent sharing of information and by regularly engaging in group study and collaborative learning.

    Step 1 - Establishing a baseline

    Ask the class. "How many of you spend some fraction of your study time studying with a least one other student?"

    Then ask the class, "How many of you spend virtually 100% of your study time studying by yourself?"

    If your experience matches mine, you’ll find that only a small fraction of freshman engineering students engage in group study with other students. If you verify this to be the case, then you can move to Step 2.

    Step 2 - Delivering knowledge

    Have students read articles on the efficacy of collaborative learning. Section 3.4 (pp. 78-84) of Studying Engineering would suffice for this purpose. The section there presents the idea that there are only two learning structures: 1) solitary; and 2) collaborative (i.e., either you do it alone or you do it with someone else), and that collaborative learning has three distinct advantages:

    You’ll be better prepared for the engineering "work world"

    You’ll learn more

    You’ll enjoy studying more

    Give the class your perspective on the value of collaborative learning. Discuss how to go about it including some of the pitfalls to watch out for. Bring in an upper-class student or recent graduate who studied with other students to give his or her perspectives.

    Step 3 - Building commitment

    Ask the class what they think of the knowledge you have brought to them. Ask those who indicate they study alone: "Why? Why don’t you study with other students?" Have those students who indicated they engage in group study relate why these reasons have not kept them from doing so. Seek agreement from those who are studying 100% alone that they will try out studying with other students, if only as an experiment.

    Step 4 - Requiring implementation

    Give the class the following assignment

    Identify a study partner in one of your key classes.

    Within the next two weeks, get together with that person for at least a two-hour study session.

    Write a one page critique of what happened

    Come to class two weeks from today prepared to share what happened with others in the class.

    Step 5 - Processing the outcomes

    At the designated class, lead a discussion about what happened. Have several students read their one-page critiques aloud. Ask other students to tell what happened during their collaborative learning session. Seek to find out not only what worked, but what didn’t work. Try to get a discussion going among students rather than just from each student to you. Refrain from giving your views on each comment. Turn issues that come up back to the class (e.g., "Does anyone have an idea about that one?")

    Collect the one-page critiques and review them. If appropriate, discuss what was learned from them at the next class. If it seems that additional knowledge has been brought forth and the level of resistance has been reduced during Step 5, you may want to return to Step 4 (i.e., assign the class to repeat the assignment).

    REVIEW OF PAPER ON ENGINEERING STUDENT ATTITUDES

    The April 1997 issue of the Journal of Engineering Education contains an excellent paper titled "Characteristics of Freshman Engineering Students: Models for Determining Student Attrition in Engineering," by Mary Besterfield-Sacre (now at UTEP), Cynthia J. Atman, and Larry J. Shuman at the University of Pittsburgh.

    Recognizing that the attitudes engineering freshman bring with them will be a key factor in their success, the authors identified attitudes potentially affecting learning and retention and developed a survey instrument to measure those attitudes. The instrument, the Pittsburgh Freshman Engineering Survey, has a total of 50 items that measure student attitudes in thirteen categories. These categories are described below:

    Student Attitude

    Definition

    General Impressions of Engineering How much a student likes engineering
    Financial Influences for Studying Engineering Belief that engineers are paid well and that having an engineering degree helps assure career security
    Perception of the Work Engineers Do and the Engineering Profession Considers engineering a respectable field and the work engineers do has a positive impact in solving the world’s problems
    Enjoyment of Math and Science Courses Preference for math and science courses over liberal arts courses
    Engineering Perceived as Being a "Precise" Science Belief that engineering is an exact science
    Engineering comparing Positively to Other Fields of Study Preference for engineering over other fields of study
    Family Influences to Studying Engineering Belief that parents are influencing student to study engineering
    Confidence in Chemistry Self-assessed confidence in chemistry knowledge
    Confidence in Communication Skills Self-assessed confidence in writing and speaking skills
    Confidence in Basic Engineering Knowledge and Skills Self-assessed confidence in knowledge of calculus and physics, and in computer skills
    Adequate Study Habits Beliefs about the adequacy of current study habits
    Working in Groups Preference for working in groups
    Confidence in Engineering Skills Belief that one has the creative thinking, problem solving and design skills required to survive in engineering

    The survey was initially used at the University of Pittsburgh and later at North Carolina State University. The comparitive institutional results can be found in "Changes in Freshman Engineers’ Attitudes - A Cross Institutional Comparison What Makes a Difference?" which was presented at the 1996 Frontiers in Education Conference and is on the Internet (http://caeme.elen.utah.edu/fie/procdngs/se6a6/paper1/96382.htm).

    Attitudes of entering students correlated well with student persistence in engineering and the results of the survey can be used to identify "high risk" students. The survey can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of different freshman year intervention strategies by measuring changes in student attitudes over the course of the freshman year

    The authors are seeking other institutions that would like to be part of a national project to administer the survey. If you are interested in participating in this project, contact:

    Dr. Mary Besterfield-Sacre

    Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

    University of Texas at El Paso

    El Paso, TX

    PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

    Achievement, Motivation, and Success Behavior

    by Dr. Edward N. Prather, University of Cincinnati

    [As Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering, Dr. Prather manages the Emerging Ethnic Engineers Program, which is designed to increase the number of African American, Latino/a, and American Indians who graduate in engineering from the University of Cincinnati]

    Ironically, our educational system assumes that students will learn achievement strategies indirectly just by following the everyday advice of parents and internalizing the Protestant work ethic values fostered by our schools. Unfortunately, many students do not receive the kind of positive encouragement from parents that will develop the thinking processes and behaviors that lead to achievement and success. Our schools are more concerned about students’ ability to regurgitate information and pass standardized tests than in helping students learn life skills that are necessary to achieve traditional educational goals and far more. There is an old saying: "Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a person to fish and you feed him for life."

    At the University of Cincinnati, I developed and teach a course entitled "Achievement, Motivation, and Success Behavior." This course teaches students how to "fish" for their dreams and goals and gives them the tools they need to turn them into reality.

    The course begins by helping students discover and verbalize their purpose in life. The late Adam Clayton Powell once said, "Mix a conviction with a man/woman and something happens." The overwhelming conclusion of the human motivation literature is that motivation is an internal phenomenon. One of the world’s best kept secrets regarding motivation is that you become what you think about. This is why it is so important that students begin to dwell on their purpose in life it gives them a direction to follow and helps them discover their passion.

    Your purpose is not only what you want but also why you want it. Finding your purpose is learning how to follow your head and your heart. Armed with a purpose, students are better prepared to use the vast resources of their imagination and memory to motivate themselves toward the achievement of their goals.

    The achievement motivation process is both a cognitive (thinking) and affective (feeling) experience. The course next focuses on the affective domain of the achievement process by addressing the topic of "attitude." Earl Nightingale said that "success in life is caused more by mental attitude than mental capacity." The manner in which you approach life (i.e., classes, professor, peers) will determine in large measure how the world will respond to you. A positive attitude one that looks for the good in new ideas and people will promote achievement and success. I teach students the mental law of cause and effect You reap what you sow. Students learn from this positive, expectant attitude to expect to succeed and how to create "win-win" situations. They learn that the most effective way to begin forming a positive expectant attitude is by acting as if you already possess it. With practice, and in time, this new way of approaching life will become a habit for them.

    The final component of the course deals with the actualization of purpose using planning, persistence, and goal setting. "Plan your work and work your plan" is a popular adage that illustrates the value of developing a cognitive map of students’ goals. Different from just a list of goals, a cognitive map includes alternative routes to the goals students want to achieve and proves invaluable to students when they encounter obstacles and setbacks.

    Dorothy Height, President of the National Council of Negro Women, once said, "Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his or her goals." This ability to overcome opposition and setbacks is called persistence, and it is a matter of self-discipline. Self-discipline is taking control of your mind, your habits, and your emotions, It is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you want to or not. Self-discipline is the ability to meet prescribed deadlines, to go the extra mile, to stay with a task until its completion, and to replace negative habits with positive ones. Self-discipline and persistence can be illustrated by anecdotes such as the story of John Roebling, the builder of the Brooklyn Bridge (see page ___)

    CALL FOR PAPERS

    Success 101

    Success 101 is published twice yearly (Dec 1 and May 1). We are seeking articles for the Fall, 1997 issue. Deadline October 15, 1997. Submissions may range from very short (e.g., quotes, exercises, activities) to up to two pages in the newsletter (opinion pieces, success stories, letters to the editor). Submit (preferably by e-mail or on disk) to:

    Success 101

    c/o Dr. Raymond B. Landis

    School of Engineering and Technology

    California State University, Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA 90032

    Telephone: (213) 343-4500

    Fax: (213) 343-4555

    E-mail: rlandis@calstatela.edu

    Discovery Press Web Page

    Please visit the Discovery Press web page (www.discovery-press.com). The web page contains various resources designed to support instructors of "student success" courses for engineering students. These include the following:

    Information on how to order Studying Engineering: A Road Map to a Rewarding Career.

    Chapter 2 of Studying Engineering (Chapter can be downloaded and copied for distribution). Note: high school students, teachers, and counselors can be referred to this chapter for "guidance" on engineering as a career.

    Spring 1996, Fall 1996, and Spring 1997 issues of Success 101 newsletter. Also opportunity to order additional copies by sending e-mail to R. B. Landis.

    Information on NSF-sponsored Chautauqua short course "Enhancing Student Success Through a Model Introduction to Engineering Course."

    Opportunity to order 70-minute videotape "Enhancing Student Success Through a Model Introduction to Engineering Course" edited version of December 5, 1995 NTU Engineering Faculty Forum by e-mail from R. B. Landis. Videotape includes discussion with faculty and students with comments from Frank Huband, Norm Augustine, John Gardner, and Richard Felder.

    Opportunity to order Dissemination Document for NSF grant "Improving Student Success Through a Model ‘Introduction to Engineering’ Course," November, 1995 by e-mail from R. B. Landis.

    Paper by R. B. Landis, "Student Development: An Alternative to ‘Sink or Swim,’" Proceedings of 1994 ASEE Annual Conference, June 1994.

    Paper by R. B. Landis, "Building Student Commitment to Engineering," Proceedings of 1995 ASEE Annual Conference, June, 1995.

    Paper by R. B. Landis, "Enhancing Engineering Student Success: A Pedagogy for Changing Behaviors," Proceedings of 1997 ASEE Annual Conference, June, 1997.

    Sample syllabus of Cal State L.A. course, ENGR 100, Introduction to Engineering.

    Links to sample syllabi from Introduction to Engineering courses at other universities (under construction).

     

    EAS 100: A Hybrid Approach to Engineering and Computer Science Student Orientation

    by John M. Dorosz and Ester B. Johnson, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

    The freshman orientation course for engineering students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is unique. What distinguishes it within the 26-campus University of Wisconsin system is that it takes a "hybrid" approach to new student orientation. A semester-long course, it ambitiously yet effectively combines an expanded campus orientation with an introduction to the study of engineering and computer science. Housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, EAS 100 acquaints students with programs in the college itself, while also covering the rules and regulations of the university in general. Information is provided on the cooperative work program, student organizations, recommended study habits and skills, and many other areas of benefit to students new to the campus and the engineering or computer science fields.

    What makes this course especially unique is that it is facilitated by individuals who, although not engineers by training, are professionals in student recruitment, academic advising, and administration of student service programs. The facilitators are directly and primarily involved with each stage of the students’ progress, starting with initial contact with the students while they are still in high school or community college, continuing through summer orientation, and then through the regular academic year advising process. Through this continuity, student progress is monitored and encouraged by people students know and feel comfortable with, people who care about them and their success.

    A key component of EAS 100 is that it provides a follow-up to material covered in general orientation programs offered by the Admissions Office and the Dean of Students Office. As part of this follow-up, students in EAS 100 get a more detailed introduction to campus resources such as employment and career exploration services of the Career Development Center, one-on-one tutoring available through both the centralized Tutoring and Learning Center and the College, and free student-run services provided to ensure personal safety and security on campus. Also covered early in the course are topics such as time management, note- and test-taking skills, and orientation to the computer-aided engineering laboratory.

    A second key component of the course is that it delves extensively into the majors offered in the College. After a discussion of the kinds of work engineers and computer scientists do, department chairs are brought into the class to discuss topics like: (1) what a specific major entails; (2) what course sequence students should follow to enter it; and (3) what employment opportunities are available upon graduation. Additional exposure to engineering is provided through hands-on design projects. Students are encouraged to have regular contact with available academic advisors and given other helpful hints as to how to use the system to maximum benefit.

    The class carries one unit of credit and students receive a letter grade. Attendance is mandatory. Students are required to submit regular homework from the text Studying Engineering by Ray Landis and to complete two design projects one individually, a "spaghetti tower;" and one working in a group, a model car made out of newspaper.

    How could you adapt EAS 100 for your campus? Although the course has been designed to serve the needs of students at a large, urban, commuter computer, the course objectives and philosophy would benefit students at many other types of institutions. Key elements include a supportive staff that has a continuity of contact with students, a student-centered approach which motivates students to take control of their educational future, in-depth exposure to the engineering and computer science disciplines, and an integrated approach to orienting students to both the College and the University.

     

     

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