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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 48, NO. 3, AUGUST 2005 503 ABET 2000 Challenges in Curricular Compression: Fluids and Circuits—A Pilot 2 + 1 + 1 Approach Catherine K. Skokan, Marcelo G. Simões, Senior Member, IEEE, Jean-Pierre Delplanque, and Joan Gosink Abstract—In response to a call from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for curriculum reform and elimination of legacy materials in engineering curricula, the faculty at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, has developed and offered a combined set of course modules in fluids and circuits. These modules consist of a two-credit interdisciplinary course in fundamentals, followed by two one-credit modules focusing on applications in fluids and in circuits, respectively. The course set reduces the overall number of credits from six (three in each of the standard fluids and circuits format. The fundamentals classes) to four through the course, consisting of two credits, is based on conservation and accounting principles for the concepts of mass, momentum, energy, and charge. Two applications modules, each of one credit, develop these ideas in the respective disciplines. During the study, four challenges to implementation were uncovered: faculty and administrative buy-in, textbook selection, logistics, and stakeholders’ acceptance. 2+1+1 Index Terms—Accreditation, Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET), circuits, curriculum, fluids, reform. I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND T HE demand for reform of engineering education is insistent and undeniable. “Shaping the Future” [1], the final report of the review of undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, highlights the need for departments to take a leading role in the development of a curriculum “that engages and motivates the broadest spectrum of students ” and in the development of “meaningful connections with employers to provide appropriately responsive edumembers of the work cational experiences for prospective force” and urges departments to “foster interdisciplinary education.” The value of a pilot study is supported in the literature [2] as a development tool and as a method of providing insight for faculty acceptance and logistics required for curriculum changes. During the last two decades numerous projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other agencies to address problems in engineering education. The NSF Engineering Education Coalitions have been leaders in Manuscript received October 1, 2004; revised April 5, 2005. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant NSFEEC-0230699. C. K. Skokan and M. G. Simões are with the Engineering Division, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401-1887 USA (e-mail: msimoes@mines.edu). J.-P. Delplanque was with the Engineering Division, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401-1887 USA. He is now with the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 USA. J. Gosink, retired, was with the Engineering Division, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401-1887 USA. Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TE.2005.852597 these efforts [3]. Even the new requirements for accreditation through the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET) [4] emphasize the value of innovation and individual development of engineering objectives. Particular concern relates to the expansion of curriculum, specifically, the perceived need to include more and more topics into an already overloaded schedule. If new topics were to be introduced, some topics clearly would have to be eliminated. A push to reduce the total number of credits required for graduation has also been emphasized [5]. Strategies for eliminating topics gives rise to this project. Indeed, reform of engineering education has been advocated in numerous historical documents, including the Grinter Report [6] in 1955. The Grinter Report anticipated many of the reforms of ABET 2000 and encouraged experimentation in achieving educational goals. This report also recommended the enhancement of interdisciplinary links between engineering topics and the elimination of repetitious and skills-based materials. Similarly, in a plenary address to the 1953 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Centennial Conference, Monteith [7] laments “a continuing trend to increase specialization in the undergraduate curricula,” associating overspecialization with “a loss of perspective and a loss of focus for undergraduate programs.” More recently, in a review of articles in the Journal of Engineering Education between 1996 and 2004, Whitin and Sheppard [8] noted the appearance of an increasing number of articles related to course development, including some with a multidisciplinary focus. Nevertheless, major curriculum and pedagogical reform continues to be met with complacency and a lack of enthusiasm. Among the factors discouraging reform are the traditions of each discipline regarding legacy materials, a lack of knowledge of emerging areas, and externally or internally mandated credit limitations. The Division of Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Golden, offers a design-oriented, interdisciplinary, accredited nontraditional undergraduate program in engineering with specialization in the branches of civil, electrical, environmental, or mechanical engineering. The Engineering Division has a tradition of innovation with respect to interdisciplinary curriculum and a young and dynamic faculty (currently five NSF Career awardees). This innovative faculty provides a particularly strong position to undertake major curricular and pedagogical reform. The engineering program at CSM is one of about 48 nontraditional and accredited engineering programs in the United States [9]. The number of accredited nontraditional engineering and engineering science programs has been growing na- 0018-9359/$20.00 © 2005 IEEE 504 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 48, NO. 3, AUGUST 2005 tionally over the past 50 years on a percentage basis faster than the growth of mechanical or electrical engineering programs [9]. Innovations within these programs were recognized at ASEE in 2002, through the formation of a new constituent committee (a precursor to a division) known as Multidisciplinary Engineering, and in 2005, to division status. In support of educational reform activities, the NSF initiated a new program—Department-Level Reform of Undergraduate Engineering Education—in 2002. This program called for innovative strategies to effect reform, including streamlining the curriculum through the reduction of legacy materials, introducing topics in emerging areas of engineering, and forming integrated partnerships that cross disciplines and focus on technological systems. CSM engineering faculty interested in curriculum reform developed a proposal for a planning grant to this solicitation; the grant was funded in fall 2002. This paper describes a specific objective of the project, namely, the unification of two traditional core courses required of all engineering students—Fluids and Circuits—into a combined pilot ” approach. The unification set of courses through a “ resulted in the reduction of the total number of required credit hours from six (three in each of the traditional courses) to four . The paper presents the conceptual unifying philosophy, and specific examples of topics included and excluded. The experience of Shooter and McNeil [10] in teaching electrical and mechanical engineering students a single course on mechatronics supports the identification of Fluids and Circuits as two courses that might be combined. That study found that students in the two disciplines helped each other learn the respective unfamiliar materials. Further, the Grinter Report [6] specifically identified six “engineering sciences,” two of which are fluid mechanics and electrical theory (fields, circuits, and electronics), and stated that “It is not necessary that this material be treated as separate courses.” Several logical linkages occur between course content in fluids and in circuits, which suggest that these courses can be easily combined. Specifically, both courses stress the concept of conservation in its various forms: conservation of mass, charge, current, momentum, power, and energy. Both courses emphasize steady-state applications of the conservation laws. When transient applications are introduced in either course, the governing equations reduce to ordinary homogeneous differential equations, with straightforward exponential or polynomial solutions. Both courses include parallel and series networks, with steady-state applications. In this implementation of a pilot section of Fluids and Circuits, comparisons and contrasts between the two subjects were promoted, and these will be explained in the next two sections. versions of the topics at the introductory level. Further, the mechanical engineering programs in all six schools required a version of both Circuits and Fluids courses, while the electrical engineering programs did not require a Fluids course. Anecdotal evidence indicates that these requirements, or lack of requirements, are common in many mechanical and electrical engineering programs. In contrast, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA; the Rose–Hulman Instititute of Technology, Terre Haute, IN; and Dartmouth, Hanover, NH [9], which offer integrated or nontraditional engineering programs, do provide combined courses. These courses, although not straightforward combinations of Fluids and Circuits, proved to be useful models in the development of the pilot course described in this paper. Several models for streamlining the curriculum were investigated to compare their pedagogical value and proven success in improving student learning. Selection of an appropriate model was guided by the authors’ understanding of model compatibility with the CSM curriculum and student profile. The potential of the models to serve as transitional courses for advanced topics in emerging areas was also a selection criterion. Two models for streamlining the curriculum are briefly described in the following subsections. A. Combining Standard Courses Several universities have combined standard courses, such as Statics with another course, such as Strength of Materials or Dynamics or Circuits [11]–[13]. For example, the Geophysics Department at CSM offers a course in linear systems that combines many concepts from statics, mechanics, and circuits. However, applications to relevant engineering topics are few. The California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, offers a challenging undergraduate course that combines Statistical Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer. A textbook combining thermodynamics, fluid flow, and heat transfer was recently published [14]. Texas A&M, College Station, offers three courses based on conservation principles—in Engineering Mechanics, Thermal Sciences, and Continuum Mechanics. The first combines concepts from statics and dynamics, and the second, concepts from thermodynamics and fluid flows. Textbooks with these themes have been developed based on conservation (or “budget equation”) principles [11]–[13], [15]. This approach is straightforward: two courses are combined, but most materials are presented in the standard format. Specific materials must be eliminated, and time available for coverage of topics is reduced. However, how this model can be integrated with the goal of including new materials in emerging areas is difficult to see. B. Fundamentals Courses II. PROJECT STRATEGY A brief review of the curriculum of several programs in mechanical and electrical engineering (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge; Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; the University of Colorado at Boulder; the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta; the University of California at Berkeley; and Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA) did not provide a model for combining Fluids and Circuits. These schools featured more traditional Dartmouth College offers three courses that combine concepts from basic engineering science: Systems, Distributed Systems and Fields, and Discrete and Probabilistic Systems [16]. Each course is integrative in the sense that examples and applications are introduced from mechanics, fluids, circuits, information theory, and other basic engineering topics. Typically, each course unites these topics in terms of the similarity of mathematical structures. This approach encourages students to understand the underlying and unifying fundamental principles and SKOKAN et al.: ABET 2000 CHALLENGES IN CURRICULAR COMPRESSION the application of principles to specific phenomena. Similarly, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, offers a course in systems, focused around a text in differential equations [18], with applications in classical mechanics, mixing problems, demographics, carbon dating, chemical and nuclear reactions, and elementary electrical circuits. 1) Selected Strategy: After reviewing these and other models, a strategy based primarily on a combination of models 1 (combining standard courses) and 2 (fundamentals courses) was selected. The faculty involved in the project were experts in fluids and in circuits; therefore, these models were applied to the development of course modules that would compress traditional fluids and circuits courses. Following model 1, the conservation/accounting approach, developed in the Foundations Coalition [11], [13], [15], was used for concepts from Fluids and from Circuits. Fluids and Circuits was chosen as the pilot course because the individual courses contain similar mathematical structures; this model is consistent with model 2 as developed at Dartmouth [16]. Specifically, both of these courses are primarily made up of “lumped parameter” topics, as opposed to distributed topics and to statistical topics. Lumped parameter problems are defined as those with uniform properties, seldom requiring integration. Distributed parameter topics have nonuniform properties and utilize differential equations liberally. Strength of materials and heat transfer are good examples of distributed parameter topics. Statistical parameter topics may be advanced thermodynamics and statistical systems. Thus, this combined Fluids and Circuits course focuses on topics with uniform properties. As an example, the development of the Navier Stokes equation, a topic that is included in the standard Fluids course, was omitted as were tedious algebraic calculations for resistive networks, usually taught in standard Electric Circuits courses from the combined course. The original plan involved the development of several mandatory, two-credit, fundamentals courses, covering lumped parameters, distributed parameters, and statistical parameters, followed by an array of one-credit applications courses. Applications courses would build on the unifying themes presented in the fundamentals courses to add material that is more discipline specific and would also include introduction to emerging engineering topics. Therefore, students would be expected to take at least two one-credit application courses, one focusing on the core discipline of their choice (Fluids or Circuits in the case presented here) and one focusing on an emerging area in that discipline, e.g., Biofluidics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Small-Scale Pumps and Turbines. In this way, the total number of credit hours could be reduced by two credits for each combination, while offering new courses in emerging areas. The multidisciplinary nature of CSM’s engineering program is such that students have significantly varied needs. For instance, students in the civil engineering specialty may have a primary interest in open channel flows while the interest of mechanical engineering students could be in pipe flow and turbomachinery. The structure of the current Fluids course in the Division of Engineering at CSM is designed to serve all these needs. The revised curriculum would be more flexible, allowing students to choose application modules aligned with their interests while 505 still being exposed to new topics, since the application courses could be changed as the need arises. For this pilot study, a single fundamentals course was offered, followed by two applications courses that would provide greater in-depth coverage of the requisite course materials. In this way, the students in the pilot sections would not be penalized in terms of their ability to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam or other standard measures. Special permission was given to the students enrolled in the pilot classes by the CSM administration to permit a reduction in the total number of credit hours. 2) Course Logistics: One goal was to reduce the traditional credit count by at least two credits, from the standard six credits (three each for Fluids and for Circuits). This was accomplished format. The first course (the fundamenthrough a tals course) entitled Fluids and Circuits, counted for two credits and was followed by two one-credit “applications” courses in Fluids and Circuits, respectively. Because of the timing of the grant, the fundamentals course was offered during summer field session 2003. The fundamentals course was thus scheduled for two and one-half hours a day, three days a week, for three weeks during summer 2003. At CSM, all students are required to complete a field session of at least three credits in their respective disciplines. Thus, CSM students are comfortable with an intensive three-week summer program, commencing immediately after the end of the spring semester. However, although the combined Fluids and Circuits was advertised aggressively, only six students registered. Nevertheless, as will be discussed, the group provided a diverse population in terms of performance and background, and the authors believe that reasonable conclusions can be reached about the students’ grasp of the materials and reactions to the approach. In the fall 2003 semester, the same group of students registered for the two one-credit applications courses in Fluids and Circuits, respectively. With this small number of students, student and faculty agreement determined timing for the applications courses. Students and faculty agreed to meet for three hours once a week for five weeks in both of the applications modules, in sequence. This compressed time schedule resulted in some difficulties, as will be discussed in Section IV on assessment. 3) The Fundamentals Course: Fluids and Circuits: The goal of the course was to give students an introduction to engineering problems through an understanding of mathematical and conservation principles. These basic principles were applied to electrical circuits and fluids problems. Specific learning objectives were as follows. 1) 2) 3) Students will apply mathematical techniques to engineering (electrical and fluids) problems. These techniques include matrix algebra, linearity, and transient response. Students will apply conservation principles to engineering problems (power, mass, charge, momentum, and energy). Students will solve example fluid and electrical problems using dimensional analysis, modeling techniques, etc. First, a common text for lumped-parameter topics in fluids and circuits had to be identified. The text by Glover, et al. [11] 506 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 48, NO. 3, AUGUST 2005 TABLE I SOURCES AND SINKS FOR INTENSIVE PROPERTIES TABLE II SUMMARY OF INTENSIVE AND EXTENSIVE PROPERTIES was chosen since it presents a cogent explanation of conservation/accounting principles. As an example, the conservation/accounting principle method makes use of a straightforward form of the Reynolds transport equation. For the general property B B flux of B into CV B flux of B out of CV B (1) where B intensive property (see hereafter), and CV is the control volume for the analysis; B rate of change of B in the control volume; B rate of generation of B within the control volume (source of B); B rate of consumption of B within the control volume (sink for B). For a given time step, this equation becomes B B B B B B (2) This general equation was then applied to all problems and topics in the entire course. Equations (1) and (2) can be applied to mass, momentum, energy, and charge. Table I provides a summary of sinks and sources considered in the combined course. Repetition of the conservation principle for each property was well accepted by the students and easily assimilated (see Section IV). Another theme unifying the Fluids and Circuits sections was the distinction between intensive and extensive properties. The students were provided with explicit guidance on the differences between intensive and extensive properties, which are summarized in Table II. The duplication in the usage of symbols (e.g., stands for both density and resistivity) was used to introduce the students to the existence of this type of duplication, common in cross-disciplinary engineering. The correct interpretation must be inferred by the usage and content. This complexity introduced the topic of dimensions. Although the Buckingham Pi theorem was postponed until the follow-on one-credit course, the importance of dimensional homogeneity was emphasized throughout the fundamentals course. Indeed, dimensional homogeneity became an essential component of this course, and the students developed the ability to switch readily from fluids to circuits notations, and back again. The Buckingham Pi theorem is clearly SKOKAN et al.: ABET 2000 CHALLENGES IN CURRICULAR COMPRESSION a lumped-parameter topic; however, with the limited time available in the fundamentals course, this topic could not be covered within the course and, thus, was postponed to the Fluids Applications course. Both Fluids and Circuits course materials include examples of series and parallel networks, and these were explicitly demonstrated and compared in class. In the Fundamentals course, examples of series and parallel networks in circuits would often involve multiple linkages, while only examples with double linkages were attempted in Fluids. The students appreciated that nonlinear character of the friction laws in Fluids precluded the rapid solution of comparable multiple linkage problems. In the follow-on course in Fluids, students developed a spreadsheet analysis for a three-linkage fluids problem, demonstrating to them that solutions were possible, though difficult to reach with nonlinear terms in the governing equations. During the class, time was divided between lecture and blackboard work by the students. Students worked both formally during class time and informally outside of class on problem solving. The students were assessed against the objectives through observation of blackboard work, homework problem solutions, a midterm exam, and a final exam. The resulting grades were typical of the standard Fluids and Electrical classes. 4) Content and Removed Materials From the Fundamentals Course: The Fundamentals course was taught by two authors of this paper (Gosink and Skokan) with experience in fluids and circuits, respectively, but with limited knowledge of the other course materials. Both faculty attended all classes and learned the new materials with the students, asking questions when uncertain of new concepts. Such technique reinforced an informal atmosphere that encouraged student participation and confidence. With the compressed format and timing, the main challenge was to present fundamental materials from both the traditional Fluids and Circuits courses in the available 27 contact hours. In addition, a pedagogy of active learning was employed with students solving problems at the blackboard. This section summarizes the topics covered and those omitted. a) Fluids topics: The topics of mass, momentum, and “Bernoulli energy” were presented in terms of the conservation/accounting principle. Repetition of the conservation/accounting principle provided a systematic way of explaining concepts and, arguably, made the topics easier to understand (see Section IV on assessment). Using the terminology presented in Glover et al. [11], mass is a conserved property (no sinks or sources), while momentum and energy are accounted properties (nonzero sinks and sources). Although the fundamentals course focused primarily on lumped parameters, a few simple examples of distributed parameters could be introduced through the mass conservation problems. Specifically, in some cases, students had to calculate mass flux with a nonuniform velocity profile. These examples were later shown to relate to the differences between friction factors in laminar and turbulent flow, as applied to the energy equation. The students were provided with notes for the energy equation rather than using the presentation in Glover et al. [11] for several reasons. First, instead of using the classical sign conven- 507 tion from mechanical engineering, that text uses the traditional sign convention from chemical engineering, which adapts rather awkwardly to the source–sink notation in (1). Treating pumps as sources of energy, and turbines and friction as sinks for energy, was more easily understood by the students. In addition, the Haaland equation [18] was used for the friction factor rather than the equation used in the Glover text. Accuracy is about the same, and the Haaland equation, although nonlinear, is not transcendental. Hydrostatic problems were introduced. These did require derivation of a differential equation (distributed parameters) to explain the pressure gradient term. The so-called “jump-across” method [18], which is always a student favorite, was used to analyze multiple fluid manometers. Therefore, the students easily accepted this topic. Students also participated in a hands-on demonstration to measure a linear pressure distribution in a meter-tall beaker. Applications omitted from the fundamentals course, which are included in the standard Fluids course at CSM, include the development of the Navier Stokes and the continuity equations with examples; the rationale for this omission is the emphasis on bulk, rather than distributed or continuous, properties. Other materials omitted are an introduction to open channel flow, pipe networks and noncircular pipes, minor losses, the Buckingham Pi theorem, external flows, drag and lift, and pumps. Most of these applications were covered in the follow-on, one-credit Fluids course. The breadth of the standard Fluids course at CSM reflects its usage by many disciplines (by civil, electrical, environmental, mechanical, petroleum, and metallurgical engineering students). The new combined course would reduce credit hours for all these disciplines, while providing opportunities for students to enroll in specialized discipline-specific courses. For example, electrical engineering students could omit further applications courses related to fluids entirely. The fundamentals course should provide them with essential knowledge for the FE exam. Civil and environmental engineering students may elect to take the applications course in open channel flow and groundwater flow, while mechanical engineering students might elect to take applications courses in computation fluid mechanics or biofluidics. The commonality of a fundamentals course is efficient, and the applications courses provide a flexible and versatile method for achieving disciplinary depth and exploration. b) Circuits topics: The topics of charge and energy were presented in terms of the conservation/accounting principle. Examples of conservation of charge were illustrated with the operation of a battery and a capacitor. With the addition of Ohm’s law, the details of Kirchhoff’s current law were presented using conservation principles. The concept of voltage was developed in terms of conservation of energy and power. Circuit analysis through Kirchhoff’s current and Voltage laws were then emphasized. The concepts of Thevenin and Norton equivalency and superposition were presented as further examples. The topic of maximum power transfer was presented as an example of principles that had been introduced. Finally, first-order resistance–inductance (RL) and resistance–capacitance (RC) circuit analysis with switching was covered. Drainage from a capacitor and from a water reservoir were shown to be applications 508 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 48, NO. 3, AUGUST 2005 TABLE III MATERIALS IN THE CIRCUITS FOLLOW-ON MODULE TABLE IV MATERIALS IN THE FLUIDS FOLLOW-ON MODULE with similar behavior, governing equations, and analysis in both Fluids and Circuits. Topics omitted from the fundamental course that are usually included in the standard introductory circuits course in the Division of Engineering at CSM were Phasor Analysis, ac Power, Diodes, Transistors, and Operational Amplifiers. These topics were successfully incorporated in the electrical follow-on module during the fall semester. 5) Description of Electrical Circuits Module: The Electrical Circuits follow-on module was taught in five sessions that met weekly for three hours. Principles and Applications of Electrical Engineering [19] by Rizzoni was adopted as the course textbook. The rationale for this class was to teach the principles of circuits and keep in-depth system perspective, supporting the integration with the other follow-on module on Fluids. The materials listed in Table III were taught. The fundamental topics were still included in the module, while the excluded topics were repetitive applications normally introduced in traditional courses and issues related to nonlinear operation of circuits. Some cooperative and project-oriented activities were used. For example, short seminars on research-based topics were presented in the second week. Pairs of students wrote one-page reports and gave ten-minute presentations about topics such as Ultracapacitors and Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage Systems. A midterm exam was given in the third week. The midterm was cross-evaluated among peers. Students exchanged exams and applied rubrics to evaluate their colleagues’ performance. The following topics were assessed: • • • Did the student have exactly the expected answer? Did the student have the right reasoning? Did the documentation of the problem help to evaluate the answer? • Was the solution key clear overall? Each form was returned to the instructor who evaluated the peer review. Then, individual interviews were conducted by the instructor to assess each student’s progress. In the last week, a laboratory activity was conducted. A single-phase resistive–inductive–capacitive circuit was analyzed on paper with phasor diagrams and evaluated in the laboratory using an oscilloscope. A take-home final test was conducted with comprehensive problems. At the end of the five-week period, the instructor individually met with the students to discuss the problems of the final exam and assess their overall learning perspective. 6) Fluids Application Module: The Fluids Application module follows a format similar to the Electrical Circuits module. The class met for three hours once a week for five weeks. The book used was Fluid Mechanics by White [18]. The topics to be covered were selected to maximize continuity with the fundamentals course, while avoiding redundancy and introducing major fluid flow applications. Hence, the first lecture focused on Dimensional Analysis (including Pi theorem and models and prototypes) because of the inherent multidisciplinarity of the topic. It was followed by a lecture in which the definition of a fluid was discussed and which centered on fundamental flow quantities such as the velocity field and the stress field, and the concept of viscosity. Applications covered both internal flow (pipe flow systems) and external flow (fluid drag and immersed bodies). Another goal was to try to combine some topics to promote delivery and learning efficiency. For example, while there was no lecture dedicated specifically to pumps and turbines, pumps were used as examples in the lectures on dimensional analysis and pipe flow system analysis so that the topics of pump performance and pump–system matching were covered. Note that this type of approach has also been used in the traditional Fluids course. The materials listed in Table IV were taught. Deemphasized materials comprise topics that would be part of a different, optional module in a permanent implementation (e.g., introduction to differential analysis of fluid flow or open channel flows) or topics that the students were prepared to acquire on their own if needed (e.g., flow in noncircular ducts), based on the material SKOKAN et al.: ABET 2000 CHALLENGES IN CURRICULAR COMPRESSION that was covered explicitly. Topics that are mere applications of concepts that were covered in a general manner were typically introduced as examples rather than separate entities and, therefore, deemphasized as well. For example, in the original Fluids course, the topic of pumps focuses exclusively on similarity aspects. In the modular implementation presented here, pump similarity was discussed (including several specific examples) as part of the Dimensional Analysis Pi Theorem/Models and Prototypes topics. The small size of the group allowed the implementation of active-learning techniques, such as in-class, student-driven problem solving, but these still remained relatively limited. Testing and assessment included weekly 10–15-minute quizzes. These quizzes were directly based on one of nine problems from the text that had been assigned as practice problems the previous week. To provide the students with maximum control and flexibility in terms of the distribution of their workload, on-demand access to the solutions of these practice problems was provided using a password-protected website. Finally, a take-home exam was assigned at the end of the module. This individual assignment required the use of computational tools (spreadsheet or symbolic calculator). The students had four days to complete the assignment and were allowed to interact only with the instructor for questions regarding that assignment. The students who participated in the combined Fluids/Circuits class were as prepared for future electrical and fluids classes as those who took the traditional two-course offerings. For example, the electrical specialty student who received an A in the combined course also received an A in the next electronics class. Another student in the mechanical specialty received a B in the combined class and went on to receive an A in the Electronics-Based Multidisciplinary Laboratory and a B in the Fluids-Based Multidisciplinary Laboratory. Still another mechanical student received a C in Fluids/Circuits and a C in the Electronics-Based Multidisciplinary Laboratory. Each of the participating students felt that they had been as well prepared as their colleagues who had taken the traditional course sequence when taking more advanced courses. III. CHALLENGES “Shaping the Future” [1] encourages departments to engage and motivate the broadest spectrum of students with an understanding that interdisciplinary curriculum is vital for the future engineer. However, departmentalized, compartmentalized curriculum remains the norm in the majority of engineering schools in the United States. Even in multidisciplinary programs, many traditional courses are presented, and students take these traditional courses from a variety of disciplines. The next step in interdisciplinary curriculum and education must be the combination and interrelation of engineering topics at the course level. Four challenges were found in the implementation of this change. Faculty buy-in and administrative support are major issues. In a strikingly candid article, Clark et al. [20] delineate the process of achieving full-scale buy-in of curricular change in the NSF- 509 sponsored FC. These authors describe a four-step process involving development of course materials, piloting, modification, and creation of internal structure to maintain the continuous growth of new curricula. Using this scale, the present project is on Step 2. The fourth step, that of devising structures and mechanisms to sustain continuous growth of new curricula, is particularly formidable because of budget realities. Without the continued ten-year support of an entity like the FC, implementation of curricula change must be sustained by faculty volunteer effort. Nevertheless, the experience of developing and offering this pilot course has given the authors the incentive to continue their efforts along these lines. Finding an appropriate textbook is a second significant challenge. Engineering textbooks are expensive, and expecting students to purchase separate texts for each component of interdisciplinary courses is unrealistic. This pilot study suggests that simpler (meaning briefer), rather than comprehensive textbooks, may be preferable for interdisciplinary course development. Combined course developers could then employ a short selection of brief texts or sets of notes on specific topics, such as conservation principles, pipe flow, and Kirchhoff’s current and Voltage laws. After completion of the pilot course, the authors became aware of the textbook Basic Engineering Science—A Systems, Accounting, and Modeling Approach by Richards [21] at the Rose–Hulman Institute of Technology. This text is similar to the one by Glover used in the Fluids and Circuits course and was at least partially inspired by the participation of Rose–Hulman in the NSF FC. The Richards text does not cover pipe flow and friction laws; thus, to use this text in a Fluids and Circuits course would necessitate the development of supplementary materials, similar to those developed to supplement the text by Glover. Logistics are another major challenge. Clark et al. [20] include logistic problems within Step 4 of their scheme. Once the course is past the pilot stage, registering and scheduling large numbers of students in two-credit or one-credit courses is a formidable challenge. In a traditional program, finding a home base for the interdisciplinary course is an additional complex issue. In short, who teaches it? Although this concern is still not major in an integrated nontraditional program, a need to train faculty to teach unfamiliar course materials without a standard textbook exists. Clearly, a small pilot section is a critical first step in achieving this goal. One goal was to reduce the overall credit hour requirement; thus, special permission had to be obtained to excuse student participants from standard credit-hour requirements. Finally, replacement of standard courses with nontraditional courses creates problems of general acceptance by ABET, recruiters, and other stakeholders. For example, whether students taking the compressed interdisciplinary courses will do as well on the focused problems of the FE exam is not clear. If student achievement on the FE exam is a major component of the school’s reputation or of its ABET documentation, a negative effect may be produced. However, the assessment of student achievement in the interdisciplinary courses, especially in terms of their depth of understanding, should mitigate this effect. Thus, it is critical that the pilot course have clearly defined objectives and measures of success. 510 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 48, NO. 3, AUGUST 2005 IV. ASSESSMENT In a small pilot section, quantitative assessment by statistical methods is meaningless. Thus, the guidelines for qualitative assessment procedures outlined in the paper by Leydens et al. [22] are followed. Assessment consisted of standard course evaluations, faculty observations, informal student comments, and a student focus group. First, the grade distribution for the courses was typical for the standard Fluids and Circuits courses. During the Fundamentals course, students collaborated extensively, forming a regular study group to work homework problems. This situation perhaps could be expected from a small group of (six) students learning new materials in a compressed time frame. Nevertheless, this somewhat diverse group (three international students and three American students) and their interactions were extremely positive. The issues raised in the student focus group, and some of the student responses are provided here. Compare your experience with that of your colleagues. • Some friends are now having a hard time in Circuits. • See others struggling with concepts in thermodynamics. • Forgot fluids and circuits materials over the summer. • Got lots of help in fluids and circuits; made topics easier. • Liked common concepts approach. • Feels he can do everything except transistors. List topics that were new to you that you now understand. • Examples from fluids/wind tunnel. • Practical applications. What are some connections between fluids and circuits? • Sum of the currents/sum of the mass flux. • Same math (except nonlinear turbulent friction). • Same logic. • Conservation principle. Would you have chosen the same route with what you know now? • Yes. What would you change about the time and length of classes? • The three-hour block in the fall was too much, especially the time of day (4:30–7:30 p.m.).1 • Both fundamentals and applications courses should be offered in the summer. What would you change about implementation? • Bring in Multidisciplinary Engineering Laboratory (a required course) applications and connections. • Try other combinations. • Add a project to the Fundamentals course. • Polish the lesson plan (timing) to even out assignments. Comment on collaborative versus individual learning. • With small class, we knew everyone. • Worked well together. Finally, on a positive note, one student volunteered that the course helped him develop the skills needed to address problems systematically when he had no prior experience. A pilot study such as this one requires some evidence of the impact on student preparation for subsequent courses in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering before a major 1This complaint was probably the biggest from the students. change in the curriculum. Given the limited resources for onecycle limitation, the authors researched information on the scale up of education studies to support how a pilot study can be useful for subsequent build-on and extrapolation of the information for larger sample sizes by scaling [2], [23]. The literature only shows tenuous limitations of pilot studies for full-fledged scale adoption. Stratified statistical analysis for ensuring quality and educational value of the product before formal adoption are very expensive to implement, and a cost–benefit ratio must be considered by the educational institution when developing the program. Although the current approach may not be perfect for traditional engineering schools, the authors found the format very feasible and realistic to be implemented in CSM’s ABET-accredited General Engineering degree. V. RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION Implementation of this reform, course compression, into a permanent feature of the curriculum is challenging. At least three major obstacles hinder achieving full implementation: faculty buy-in and preparation, administrative support, and appropriate textbooks. A. Faculty Buy-In and Preparation Deciding which classes will be combined and how the overall curriculum will be affected require intensive faculty discussion and agreement. The Fundamentals courses are really quite different from standard courses, requiring collaboration among faculty in several disciplines and appreciation for overarching principles. Faculty may require training in new disciplines structure. Simultaneous presenbefore adopting the tation of multiple levels of abstraction is difficult, and faculty must present a cogent integration of theoretical principles in the introductory course, linked to a depth of knowledge in follow-on modules. B. Administrative Support Another challenge is related to financial support for reform since this program can attract more students and encourage faculty with its novel approach and reduction in inherited legacy materials. Therefore, commitment from the institution is important, first to support gradual implementation and continuous growth of the program, and second to allow reform in the school timetable and scheduling of classes that depend on the sequence. The structure may offer an incentive to faculty in terms of scheduling possibilities. If the applications (one-credit) courses are taught in blocks of five weeks, teaching assignments could be adjusted so that a faculty member teaches only ten or even five weeks out of the 15-week semester. C. Appropriate Textbooks Legacy elimination for teaching new materials requires a new approach to textbook design. Rather than the usual comprehensive texts that provide a top-down explanation of disciplinary principles, texts used in the introductory courses should present linked fundamental themes, such as conservation, accounting, property characteristics, and common constitutional laws. These texts should be concise and somewhat repetitive in the SKOKAN et al.: ABET 2000 CHALLENGES IN CURRICULAR COMPRESSION fundamental themes. The texts needed in the Applications courses will contain a minimum of theoretical background, focusing on how the fundamental themes are demonstrated in specific cases. Again, these texts should be concise, allowing the individual instructor to add relevant and current examples. Thus, some support such as the NSF/Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI)/Educational Material Development (EMD) program would be important in designing the right textbook for the class. APPENDIX I SYLLABUS FOR EGGN398A—FUNDAMENTALS COURSE: FLUIDS AND CIRCUITS Textbook: Glover, Lunsford, and Fleming, Conservation Principles and the Structure of Engineering, 5th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995), ISBN 0-07-024 259-3. Goals: The goal of this two-hour class is to give students an introduction to engineering problems through an understanding of mathematical and conservation principles. These basic principles will be applied to electrical circuits and fluids problems. Objectives: Students will apply mathematical techniques to engi1) neering (electrical and fluids) problems. These techniques include matrix algebra, complex arithmetic, linearity, and transient response. Students will apply conservation principles to engi2) neering problems (power, mass, charge). Students will solve example fluid and electrical prob3) lems using dimensional analysis, modeling techniques, etc. This pilot class will be held for nine days, three hours per day. Lectures will be augmented with problem-solving, demonstration, or project sessions. Syllabus: Day 1: Day 2: Day 3: Day 4: Day 5: Day 6: Day 7: Day 8: Day 9: Chapter 1 (Introduction), Chapter 2 (The Big Picture), Systems Concept, Conservation Quantities and Principles. Chapter 3 (Conservation of Mass, Open and Closed Systems, Fluids Example). Chapter 4 (Conservation of Charge, Steady State, Electrical Example). Chapter 5 (Conservation of Linear Momentum, Newton’s Laws, Fluids Example). Chapter 7 (Conservation of Energy, Charge, Power, Electrical Example). Chapter 11 (Fluid Statics). Chapter 12 (Fluid Dynamics). Chapter 13 (Electrical Circuit Analysis—Connect to Pipes in Day 7). Chapter 14 (Inductance and Capacitance). Assessment Techniques: Homework problems, blackboard work, exam, and summary paper on similarities and differences of fluids and electrical circuits. 511 APPENDIX II SYLLABUS FOR EGGN398B—SPECIAL TOPICS: ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS APPLICATIONS Textbook: G. Rizzoni, Principles and Applications of Electrical Engineering, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003). Outline: Week 1: ac Network Analysis. Week 2: Frequency Response and System Concepts. Week 3: ac Power. Midterm Exam Week 4: Operational Amplifiers. Week 5: Diodes, Transistors, and Laboratory Experiments. Final Exam Grading: 25% Homework; 30% Midterm; 35% Final Exam; and 10% Participation. APPENDIX III SYLLABUS FOR EGGN398C—SPECIAL TOPICS: FLUIDS APPLICATIONS Textbook: Frank M. White, Fluid Mechanics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003). Outline: Week 1: Dimensionless Parameters; Modeling; Models Versus Prototypes. Week 2: What Is a Fluid; Velocity Field Stress Field; Viscosity. Week 3: Viscous Flow in Ducts; Flow in a Circular Pipe; Three Types of Flow Problems. Midterm Exam Week 4: Minor Losses in Pipe Systems; Multiple-Pipe Systems; Flow Meters. Week 5: Fluid Drag of Immersed Bodies. Final Exam Grading: 25% Homework; 30% Midterm; 35% Final Exam; and 10% Participation. REFERENCES [1] Advisory Committee to the National Science Foundation, “Shaping the future, new expectations for undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, A report on its review of undergraduate education,”, National Science Foundation, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, pp. 76, 1996. [2] M. C. Clark, J. Froyd, P. Merton, and J. Richardson, “Evolving models of curricular change: The experience of the foundation coalition,” presented at the 2003 Amer. Soc. Engineering Education Annu. Conf. Exposition, 2003. Session 2003-1892. [3] SRI International. (2004, Sep.) Final report: Progress of the engineering education coalitions. [Online]. Available: www.nsf.gov/pubs/ 2000/nsf00116/nsf00116.pdf [4] Evaluation criteria (2004, Sep.). [Online]. Available: http://www.abet. org/criteria.html 512 [5] General Assembly of the State of Colorado. (2001) HB 01-1263, Concerning State Institutions of Higher Education Degree Requirements. [Online]. Available: http://www.leg.state.co.us/2001/inetcbill. nsf/fsbillcont/F1CE3A894F1A34B7872569C1004FC3F3?Open&file= 1263_enr.pdf [6] L. E. Grinter, “Report of the committee on evaluation of engineering education,” J. Eng. Edu., vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 25–60, 1955. [7] L. K. Monteith, “Engineering education—A century of opportunity,” J. Eng. Educ., vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 22–25, 1955. [8] K. Whitin and S. Sheppard, “Taking stock: An analysis of the publishing record as represented by the journal of engineering education,” J. Eng. Educ., vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 5–12, 2004. [9] B. Newberry and J. Farison, “A look at the past and present of general engineering and engineering science programs,” J. Eng. Educ., vol. 93, no. 3, pp. 217–226, 2003. [10] S. Shooter and M. McNeil, “Interdisciplinary collaborative learning in mechatronics at Bucknell University,” J. Eng. Educ., vol. 91, no. 3, pp. 339–344, 2002. [11] C. J. Glover, K. M. Lunsford, and J. A. Fleming, Conservation Principles and the Structure of Engineering, 5th ed, ser. College Custom Series. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995. [12] T. C. Pollock, Properties of Matter, 5th ed, ser. College Custom: McGraw-Hill, 1995. [13] L. J. Everett, Understanding Engineering Systems Via Conservation, 2nd ed, ser. College Custom. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1992. [14] T. A. Çengel and R. H. Turner, Fundamentals of Thermal-Fluid Science. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. [15] C. J. Glover and H. L. Jones, Conservation Principles for Continuous Media, ser. College Custom: McGraw-Hill, 1992. [16] Undergraduate-level courses engineering sciences (ENGS) (2004, Sep.). [Online]. Available: http://thayer.dartmouth.edu/thayer/academicsadmissions/undergrad-courseslong.html [17] W. Boyce and R. Diprima, Elementary Differential Equations, 7th ed. New York: Wiley, 2001. [18] F. M. White, Fluid Mechanics, 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. [19] G. Rizzoni, Principles and Applications of Electrical Engineering, 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. [20] M. C. Clark et al., “The evolution of curricular change models within the foundation coalition,” J. Eng. Educ., vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 37–48, 2004. [21] D. E. Richards, Basic engineering science—A systems, accounting and modeling approach, Winter 2001 version, Course notes for ES 201— Conservation and accounting principles. Terra Haute, IN: Rose– Hulman Institute of Technology, 2001. [22] J. A. Leydens, B. M. Moskal, and M. J. Pavelich, “Qualitative methods used in assessment of engineering education,” J. Eng. Educ., vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 65–72, 2004. [23] G. Bebis, D. Egbert, and M. Shah, “Review of computer vision education,” IEEE Trans. Educ., vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 1–21, Feb. 2003. Catherine K. Skokan received the Ph.D. degree in geophysical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, Golden. She has been a Member of the Ggeophysics Faculty and is presently an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. She has taught classes in linear systems, digital data processing, electrical prospecting in geophysics, and electric circuits. She has directed and been involved with the campuswide Multidisciplinary Senior Design Program and with the Engineering Division Senior Design Program. Her research interests include engineering applications of geophysics, groundwater exploration and contamination studies, curriculum development, and K–12 outreach. She presently has grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to improve middle school science and math teachers’ content knowledge. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION, VOL. 48, NO. 3, AUGUST 2005 Marcelo G. Simões (S’89–M’95–SM’98) received the B.E. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, in 1985 and 1990, respectively, the Ph.D. degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1995, and the D.Sc. degree (Livre-Doência) from the University of São Paulo in 1998. He joined the faculty of Colorado School of Mines, Golden, in 2000 and has been working to establish research and education activities in the development of intelligent control for high-power electronics applications in renewable and distributed energy systems. Dr. Simões is a recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF)—Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award in 2002. He is serving as the IEEE Power Electronics Society Intersociety Chairman, Associate Editor for Energy Conversion and Editor for Intelligent Systems of IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AEROSPACE AND ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS, and Associate Editor for Power Electronics in Drives of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS. He is the Program Chair for Power Electronics Specialists Conference (PESC) 2005, to be held in Brazil. He has also been actively involved in the Steering and Organization Committee of the IEEE/Department of Energy/Department of Defense 2005 International Future Energy Challenge. Jean-Pierre Delplanque received the Engineering Diploma from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electrotechnique, d’Electronique, d’Informatique, d’Hydraulique et des Télécommunications (ENSEEIHT), Toulouse, France, in 1987, the M.S. (“D.E.A.”) degree in mechanics from the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse, France, in 1987, and the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of California, Irvine, in 1989 and 1993, respectively. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden. In 2004, he became an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of California, Davis (UCD), and a Member of Computational Science and Engineering Center. His research and educational activities focus on the multiscale modeling and numerical simulation of complex fluid and thermal processes and systems. Applications are interdisciplinary in nature, crossing the boundaries between mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and materials science, with specific examples ranging from physical vapor deposition (PVD) processing of thin-film photovoltaics to water-mist fire suppression systems. Dr. Delplanque serves as Chair of one of the technical committees (K–11) of the Heat Transfer Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Joan Gosink, now retired and an Emerita Professor, was Director of the Engineering Division at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Golden, the largest department or division in the School, from 1991 to 2003. Under her direction, the Division received various accolades, including designation as a Program of Excellence from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. During this period, student enrollment grew from approximately 500 students to over 900, and external research funding increased by 600%. The program also expanded to include Master’s and Doctorate degrees and an undergraduate specialty in Environmental Engineering. She currently guides the Humanitarian Engineering program at CSM. Dr. Gosink was awarded the title Unique Woman of the Year in 2000 by the Denver Post. She has twice served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and is an experienced Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET) evaluator.