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Title: Development of A Holistic Cross-Disciplinary Project Course Experience as a Research Platform for the Professional Formation of Engineers
Although engineering graduates are well prepared in the technical aspects of engineering, it is widely acknowledged that there is a need for a greater understanding of the socio-economic contexts in which they will practice their profession. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) reinforces the critical role that engineers should play in addressing both problems and opportunities that are technical, social, economic, and political in nature in solving the grand challenges. This paper provides an overview of a nascent effort to address this educational need. Through a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program, a team of researchers at West Virginia University has launched a Holistic Engineering Project Experience (HEPE). This undergraduate course provides the opportunity for engineering students to work with social science students from the fields of economics and strategic communication on complex and open-ended transportation engineering problems. This course involves cross-disciplinary teams working under diverse constraints of real-world social considerations, such as economic impacts, public policy concerns, and public perception and outreach factors, considering the future autonomous transportation systems. The goal of the HEPE platform is for engineering students to have an opportunity to build non-technical—but highly in-demand—professional skills that promote collaboration with others involved in the socio-economic context more » of engineering matters. Conversely, the HEPE approach provides an opportunity for non-engineering students to become exposed to key concepts and practices in engineering. This paper outlines the initial implementation of the HEPE program, by placing the effort in context of broader trends in education, by outlining the overall purposes of the program, discussing the course design and structure, reviewing the learning experience and outcomes assessment process, and providing preliminary results of a baseline survey that gauges students interests and attitudes towards collaborative and interdisciplinary learning. « less
Authors:
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Award ID(s):
1927232
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10277337
Journal Name:
2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference & Exposition
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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