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first year Tech-One program

Take two on TechOne

March 21, 2007

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By Terry Lavender

First-year students at SFU's Surrey campus will be trying their own approach to crime reduction this fall.                                     

As one of their assignments, students in the first-year TechOne program will have to design a safer way of getting between the Surrey Central SkyTrain station and the adjacent campus.

The community-based design project, which will vary from year to year, is just one of the innovations for the Faculty of Applied Sciences' first-year cohort program, says Jane Fee, the program's director.

"We've updated the program to provide students more choice in their course selection and access to the range of new undergraduate programs offered at the Surrey campus. It reflects both the technology-rich nature of our campus and an enhanced understanding of how to engage first-year students."

TechOne and the other two cohort programs offered at the campus—science year one and explorations in the arts and social sciences—differ from traditional first-year programs in that students take a core group of courses together, easing the transition from high school and allowing for friendships, peer support and teamwork habits to develop.

Students in TechOne must take four of six core courses: technology in everyday contexts, spatial thinking and communicating, design thinking, communication, teamwork and collaborative process, introduction to computing science and programming and discrete mathematics.

"TechOne is for anyone who is curious about design and technology and the roles they play in people's everyday lives," Fee says. The revised program has a close connection to the new mechatronics engineering program being launched at the campus next fall. All mechatronics students will be required to take TechOne.

"In today's world, professionals need to learn to communicate and interact with people outside their areas of expertise," Fee says. "TechOne is an ideal way to teach communication and teamwork skills necessary for success at university and in the workforce."

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