Integrating the Engineering Curriculum through the Synthesis and Design Studio

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NADIA KELLAM
Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology
University of Georgia

JOACHIM WALTHER
College of Engineering
University of Georgia

TRACIE COSTANTINO
Lamar Dodd School of Art
University of Georgia

BONNIE CRAMOND
Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology
University of Georgia

 

ABSTRACT

Traditional curricular approaches within engineering education tend to be fragmented, with opportunities for content- and meta-level synthesis being mostly limited to freshman and senior year design courses. In this paper, we are proposing a curricular model, the Synthesis and Design Studio, to combat the tendency towards fragmented curricula. The approach proposed here attempts to negotiate the realities of fragmented curricula by providing an integrative learning component that exposes Environmental Engineering students to open-ended projects with the intent that students will develop an integrated understanding of their courses, lives, and professional futures. The pedagogical features and theoretical design of the Studios will be described. Project-led research was conducted, and results from this interpretive analysis of reflections and focus group transcripts are described to explore students’ accounts of both content- and meta-level integration as they participated in a Studio.

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