Development of a New Course: ENSC 180 Introduction to Engineering Analysis Tools

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Ivan V. Bajić, School of Engineering Science

Project team: Faisal Beg, Fabio Campi, Glenn Chapman, Parvaneh Saeedi, Lesley Shannon, School of Engineering Science, Greg Hum, Victor Mateescu, Amarjot Singh and Milad Amir Toutounchian, research assistants

Timeframe: May 2013 to May 2014

Funding: $5,000

Course addressed: ENSC 180 – Introduction to Engineering Analysis Tools

Final report: View Ivan V. Bajić's final project report (PDF)

Description: As a part of its undergraduate curriculum revision, the School of Engineering Science is developing a new first-year course (ENSC 180 Introduction to Engineering Analysis Tools) to introduce students to some of the main engineering analysis and design tools.  First-year engineering students take several math and science courses in the first two semesters. ENSC 180 will try to show them how various concepts from these courses (e.g., integration, linear systems, etc.) can be used in engineering practice. One of the goals of ENSC 180 is to expose engineering students to engineering early in their curriculum and, in that process, increase their enthusiasm for the program. The new course is also an attempt to mitigate the attrition problem since one of the reasons cited for leaving the program is the lack of exposure to engineering in the first couple of years in ENSC curriculum.

Data will be collected through multiple methods:

  • By collecting and analyzing students' answers to select questions in various assignments throughout the course, we will be able to track the transfer of knowledge and find out how well various concepts have been learned, and if the students are able to apply these concepts to solve "real-world" problems.
  • Students' feedback regarding their intent to continue in Engineering will be collected and analyzed at the end of the course.
  • Specific questions related to students' impressions about the course (e.g., do they find it useful, do they like projects, do they like labs, etc.) will be developed and organized into several questionnaires. Answers to these questions will be collected online several times during the Spring 2014 semester.
  • We will collect the data on attrition of first-year students at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year and compare it with historical data to see if there is any statistically significant difference. This parameter will be monitored in future years as well.

Questions addressed:

  • Do students see the connection between learning in ENSC 180 and what they are learning in the first year math and science courses?
  • At the end of ENSC 180, how many students report that they intend to continue in Engineering?
  • What are students' impressions about the ENSC 180 course and what do they think they learned?
  • Does ENSC 180 have an impact on student attrition?

Knowledge sharing: Results will be shared within the ENSC Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) and presented at one of the ENSC faculty meetings. Results will be presented as a poster at the annual Teaching and Learning Symposium at SFU.