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PCL2008 Keynote Speaker - Lawrence Carlson (University of Colorado at Boulder)

PCL2008 Workshop Keynote Speaker -

Lawrence Carlson (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Dr. Carlson discusses how hands-on projects permeate K-16 engineering in the ITL Program and some of their impacts, with a focus on the interdisciplinary First-Year Engineering projects course. The ITL Program is the 2008 recipient of the Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technical Education from the National Academy of Engineering.

Track time, content:

4:20 How many of us tend to teach the way we were taught?

5:15 I'm going to give you a view of an umbrella overarching a lot of activities. there is no such thing as integrated teaching and learning. We facilitate in different ways

5:55 K-12 Engineering teaching

6:35 Undergraduate engineering

7:14 We have the luxury of being able to build a building to support our activities

8:05 Describes the facility. Opened in 1997. Visible, flexible architecture.

9:03 Very high usage. This is what we know about. Also have students who are using our facility but the course isn't being taught in the building.

9:45 Open lab spaces with balconies

10:35 Had students engaged in the design process… asked for more intimate spaces too

11:16 To support hands on activities you gotta be able to build the stuff. Learning the fundamentals are just the skills you need to operate the equipment. When you're doing projects you can do this just in time. "Just in time learning". Non-credit workshops for how to use the machines. Faculty take them sometimes too

12:31 Electronics Center… Somebody says I think you need an electrical something or other

12:54 Active Learning Center supports interactive learning activities. Faculty member complained it is lousy for giving lectures and exams

13:28 Two design studios

14:09 Another idea from students. Wildly successful. Group study rooms.

15:29 One of the most fun things about this when we were planning it… went to the Exploratorium on a shopping trip. So we have a lot of exhibits. The building is a lot like a science museum

16:33 Acknowledges staff. Fulltime assessment specialist. PhD in psychology. Assessment is really important

17:14 The motivation for K-12 is clear. Bill Gates. Low science and math performance of American students. Need a gender balance in engineering.

18:02 Public perception of engineering. Tells story about being in the hotel. Public doesn't understand what engineers do.

19:03 In the Lab we support undergrads. Not too aggressive of a summer program. Lab is underutilized in the summer.

19:52 So we have example courses – mechanics, GPS nav, etc. – that we teach during the summer. We engage the digital library curriculum. Teach the teachers, and for kids as well.

20:40 Success Institute


00:00 One of the reasons we think this is working is that 80 percent of students who went to SI applied to CU.

:31 During the academic year we're active out in the K-12 schools.

2:15 Grants are hard to get and keep.

2:36 One approach is to develop a digital library with other schools. Develop curricula on the web for hands on projects that students can get going on with materials from hardware store

3:39 Teachers are under great pressure to teach to the standards. All of these are standards based. You can go online. It has been pretty popular

4:21 I want to move over to the undergraduate side. The theme here is having resources that support project-based learning throughout the curriculum.

5:57 We also support things in mechanical engineering. Used to be strictly theory but now we can do projects like a spring catapult. Manufacturing processes course.

6:44 Invention and Innovation. Intended as a junior level course. Theme is something that might be a commercial product

8:08 Why do we think it's important that this be in the first year?

8:59 So we have an interesting situation. It's a college wide course but it's not required across the college

9:50 Teach about 400 students annually. Sections need to be pretty small. We work very hard to get really good instructors. We will actually reject instructors.

10:50 Underneath it all we really emphasize to students that creating is for the benefit of society

11:10 We think the process is frankly more important than the product

11:59 We spend a whole hour looking at social styles. We try to balance those out among teams. We look at skills. Practical: does every team have access to a car? Icebreaker projects

13:57 Important thing is the design expo… Rube Goldberg projects. Assistive technology and other projects

16:00 Engineering design expo – each project gets judged by engineers. There's a people's choice. I underestimated how important this was for students.

17:06 When students know they'll have to be accountable to the public, they rise to the occasion. Quality has improved every year.

17:34 Benefits of project approach: Motivational. Industry sponsored yearlong projects.

18:39 Having students workon open ended projects stretches them and helps them learn

18:58 Improved retention, increased confidence, perform better in other courses, sought after by employers


00:00 Want students to learn something about time and management incl fiscal management

2:24 How do you take someone who is supposed to be the holder of knowledge and make them into a coach.

3:16 Just want to talk about assessment. We do a lot of surveying. College does a survey of all the graduating seniors. ITL facility tops the chart from what all students say is the best thing.

4:12 Student group interviews – every session every year. Kick out the faculty and TAs and get into small groups and come up with a consensus on the strengths and weaknesses of the course

5:31 These are the sorts of things we get… teamwork was one of the best things… hands-on learning… freedom to determine the project.

5:50 One way we do peer evaluations is mythical bonuses getting handed out.

6:52 We talked about five different learning objectives pre-semester and post-semester. Most of the gains are in design

7:39 We also look at gender

8:45 The last piece of data I want to mention…

10:23 We think the process is more important than the product. Engaging your students is important.

12:05 Testimonial

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Workshop 2008

Workshop 2008

Category: Education | Updated over 9 years ago

April 18, 2008 14:04
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