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Title:Applying project-based learning with an emphasis on engineering communication: A report on AE 100 course renovations
Author(s):Degenhardt, David
Advisor(s):Bretl, Timothy; Woodard, Brian S
Department / Program:Aerospace Engineering
Discipline:Aerospace Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Engineering Education
Project-Based Learning
Engineering Communication
Aerospace Education
Abstract:This work summarizes an effort performed to modify and improve AE 100, an introductory course in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This project was motivated by the desire to design the class around project-based learning, which research shows can improve learning outcomes for students. Additional changes were implemented to improve education in engineering presentation and technical communication skills. This freshmen-level course has been offered for more than a decade, although it has traditionally been used to introduce only a few specific concepts in aerospace engineering. Previously, freshmen were made to choose between two versions of this course, one focused on aeronautical engineering and the other on astronautical engineering. This project aimed to unite the two subjects and introduce a goal-oriented design project for each subject: a model rocket and a hand-thrown glider. Both projects featured a final report designed to emphasize different communication skills. Additional changes were made to improve engineering communications skills in students taking the course. Evidence has been collected to compare final reports from before and after these changes were implement, and evaluation of this evidence shows a drastic improvement in the quality of the final reports following these changes. Surveys taken at the beginning and end of the class to assess student perceptions of their skills in several areas have been collected and analyzed for this report. The results of these surveys show success in learning outcomes across a variety of subjects, although on most measures a direct comparison of outcomes from before and after the changes were implemented cannot be made. The introduction of project-based learning with an emphasis on engineering communication skills in AE 100 has improved the experience of the students in the Department of Aerospace Engineering.
Issue Date:2019-07-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 David Degenhardt
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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