PostedSaturday, April 9, 2016 at 12:05 AM
The purpose of this paper – presented in the 2015 ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Seattle, WA – is to guide others who might be thinking about building a first-year engineering learning center or questioning the value of creating a seemingly too-small space for their students due to limited resources.
From the Abstract and Summary:
In Fall 2013, the First Year Engineering Program at a medium-sized private university opened anew 1600 ft2 Learning Center that was designed to provide first-year engineering students with:(1) a collaborative teaching and learning space that fosters communication, teamwork, applied active learning, and self-directed learning, (2) a dedicated workshop setting with accessible hand tools to facilitate their hands-on design projects, (3) a central office and meeting location in which to engage with their first-year instructors for office hours, extra help and advising, and (4) an academic resource and community center including a bank of computers and 3D printers to support their first-year engineering courses...
The lessons learned from this initiative indicate that our College of Engineering’s Engineering Learning Center is being used as intended, and while it is small for the given population of over 600 first-year students, the original design elements and planning efforts have paid off. The research demonstrates that even with limited resources and space, one can create a centralized area designed to help students succeed in their first year of engineering.