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Many university engineering programs require their students to complete a senior capstone experience to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed after graduation. Such capstone experiences typically integrate knowledge and skills learned cumulatively in the degree program, often engaging students in projects outside of the classroom. As part of an initiative to completely transform the civil engineering undergraduate program at Clemson University, a capstone-like course sequence is being incorporated into the curriculum during the sophomore year. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) program, this departmental transformation (referred to as the Arch initiative) is aiming to develop a culture of adaptation and a curriculum support for inclusive excellence and innovation to address the complex challenges faced by our society. Just as springers serve as the foundation stones of an arch, the new courses are called “Springers” because they serve as the foundations of the transformed curriculum. The goal of the Springer course sequence is to expose students to the “big picture” of civil engineering while developing student skills in professionalism, communication, and teamwork through real-world projects and hands-on activities. The expectation is that the Springer course sequence will allow facultymore »
Engaging Civil Engineering Students by Exposing them to a “Capstone-like” Experience in their Sophomore Year: A Case StudyAs part of a National Science Foundation-funded initiative to completely transform the civil engineering undergraduate program at Clemson University, a capstone-like course sequence is being incorporated into the curriculum during the sophomore year. Clemson’s NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) program is called the Arch Initiative. Just as springers serve as the foundation stones of an arch, the new courses are called “Springers” because they serve as the foundations of the transformed curriculum. Through a project-based learning approach, Springer courses mimic the senior capstone experience by immersing students in a semester-long practical application of civil engineering, exposing them to concepts and tools in a way that challenges students to develop new knowledge that they will build on and use during their junior and senior years. In the 2019 spring semester, a pilot of the first Springer course introduced students to three civil engineering sub-disciplines: construction management, water resources, and transportation. The remaining sub-disciplines are covered in a follow-on Springer 2 pilot. The purpose of this paper is to describe all aspects of the Springer 1 course, including course content, teaching methods, faculty resources, and the design and results of a Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) survey to assess students’ learningmore »