Deriving Design Course Learning Outcomes from a Professional Profile

Denny C. Davis
Engineering Education Research Center, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-2710, USA
E-mail: davis@wsu.edu

Steven W. Beyerlein
Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
E-mail: sbeyer@uidaho.edu

Isadore T. Davis

Abstract:
National calls for enhanced preparation of engineering graduates have spawned and elevated efforts toward assessment-driven improvement of engineering education. Adoption of outcomes-based accreditation criteria by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) provided incentive for this change. A necessary first step is embedding attributes of engineering professionals in the program and course objectives of specific baccalaureate degrees. This paper presents a `profile of an engineer’ that encapsulates important roles performed by engineers and key observable behaviors associated with effective performance of these roles. The profile is then utilized to derive sample learning outcomes for a client-driven capstone design course. This involves identifying key roles in support of the course as well as the type of learning outcome best aligned with each of these roles. Outcomes derived in this manner provide rich definitions of desired student achievement that will aid in engineering design education and assessment.

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