Inspiration Station for First-Year Engineering Projects

Fethiye Ozis, Kelly Salyards, David A. Saftner, Tanya Kunberger

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This evidence-based practice paper provides engineering educators teaching first-year introductory courses, who are new or looking to update their courses, inspiration with diverse project ideas. The active learning via project-based, activity-based, and service-based courses within the first-year engineering curriculum has proven effective for students not only to become more engaged and motivated but also to experience increased learning and retention. Generally, first-year engineering courses are meant to create student experiences that are meaningful, open-ended, and hands-on in addition to being an introduction to working and communicating effectively within teams. Whether one is an experienced educator or not, looking for project ideas to adapt, or developing projects that are of appropriate scope and value on your own or in collaboration with colleagues is challenging and time consuming. Although there is an abundance of peer reviewed work studying first-year projects or activities of many kinds, a composite repertoire for first year engineering project ideas is less available. The existing literature focuses on the tied research questions more than how the project is implemented for straightforward transfer to another classroom setting. Limited inventories, where individual ideas and projects are listed, exist; however, finding the project that fits one's needs again requires choosing the right keywords to start reading through multiple posts, folders and files, and is not straightforward. In this study, the authors surveyed faculty teaching introductory courses in engineering to explore the range of projects already developed, the basic details of the projects, and topics addressed in each. The online survey was utilized to collect faculty members' teaching approaches, preparation, activities, and materials needed, as well as self-reflection. Data analysis categorized first-year engineering projects (N=32) by the project outcomes, themes, extent within the course coverage, grading system, institutions' educational model, and the projects' inclusivity of other power/holistic skills. There were common features among the first-year introductory engineering courses including the engineering design process, teamwork, and professional communication. Additionally, the authors identified supplemental themes such as prototyping (P), sustainability (S), project management and economics (PM), ethics (E), and the inclusion of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2023.


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