Overview: American industries are increasingly emphasizing that a successful engineer must, in addition to possessing strong technical capabilities, understand the non-technical forces that profoundly affect engineering decisions. The current engineering teaching methodologies do not adequately develop these capabilities and understandings of the students. This multi-disciplinary project has been addressing this problem. The goals of this project are to develop and test instructional material for a freshman and sophomore course that will bring theory and practice together in engineering classrooms and develop the higher-level cognitive skills of the students. The laboratories for this project are actual industrial facilities and the personnel in and interacting with these facilities. The laboratory is also the classroom. So far, nine engineering case studies along with background competency materials, instructor manuals, and multimedia CD-ROMs have been developed in partnership with industries. A collaborative team consisting of faculty members and students from engineering and management disciplines have developed these case studies in order to bring real-world issues into engineering classrooms. These instructional materials are currently being used in many universities including Auburn University, University of Virginia, Illinois Institute of Technology, Alabama A&M University, Rose-Hulman Institute, Purdue University, University of Pittsburgh, etc. These innovative educational materials have received several awards, including the Thomas C. Evans, Jr., Instructional Unit Award from the ASEE Southeastern Section, the Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware awarded by NEEDS and John Wiley and Sons, and the ASME Curriculum Innovation Award.
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