Spinning New Engineering Students' Minds

Spinning New Engineering Students' Minds

B. Neves, P. Guedes (2010).  Spinning New Engineering Students' Minds. 18.

Freshmen of engineering curricula present, at their arrival, the lack of basic knowledge along with an unfocused degree of curiosity regarding specific and valuable or crucial engineering themes. The experience of building small projects in a relaxed context allows students to experience the satisfaction of surpassing small obstacles presented during these hands-on activities, increasing their self-confidence and willingness to learn more.

Several studies have corroborated this and CDIO standard number 5 clearly refers the curriculum integration of two ore more design-implement actions, from basic to advanced levels, insisting upon the inclusion of design-implement experiences of simpler products and systems in first year curricula. Bologna reforms in teaching have posed new difficulties to engineering teaching/learning in Portugal. Bologna suggested change, some of it resulting in heavier weight of introductory engineering sciences, in first year curricula. This has led to an increased burdening of faculty staff and bigger obstacles to the implementation of teaching/learning experiences that differ from traditional methods.

At ISEP, in the fall of 2009, following an IEEE-RWEP 2008 winning ISEP project proposal – “Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) for Micro-Energy Generation: Spinning Students Minds” – the right conditions to establish a first experience in this context were gathered.

This paper tries to share the experience of an IEEE-RWEP project-based learning first interaction with newly arrived students, looking for a CDIO framework, and the benefits, doubts and difficulties encountered. Attention was focused in grouping students from Electrical Engineering – Power Systems and Mechanical Engineering, promoting interpersonal skills and multidisciplinary work, attracting them into the experience but participating only if they wished to do so. It was also mandatory to obtain as much information as possible on all the enrolled students before, during and after the duration of the activities of the project, with appropriate surveys.

Authors (New): 
Betina Campos Neves
Pedro Barbosa Guedes
Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP), Portugal
Basic Design-Implement Experiences
CDIO Framework
Martins A., Sampaio A. And Costa A., Software development process at LEI-ISEP, Proceedings of the 5th International CDIO Conference, Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore, June 7 - 10, 2009. : 
National Academy of Engineering of The National Academies, Educating the engineer of 2020: adapting engineering education to the new century, The National Academies Press, Washington, 2005.: 
THE CDIO APPROACH TO ENGINEERING EDUCATION: 4. Designing and Integrating DesignImplement Experiences, CDIO 2008, Revised January 2008. : 
IEEE-RWEP WEBSITE, http://www.realworldengineering.org/about.html. : 
IEEE-RWEP Call for Projects 2008. : 
Goldberg E. David, The Emotional Rescue of Engineering Education, Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801 USA, 2010 (http://www.slideshare.net/deg511/the-emotional-rescue-of-engineering-education).: 
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