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Service learning in engineering

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Engineering Sustainability Summary[edit]

This article explores the application of academic service learning to the study of engineering to provide solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development.

Service Learning in Engineering[edit]

  • Service-learning has the potential to engage students in a real life application of the theoretical engineering models they learn in the classroom, to introduce engineering to students who may not have initially been drawn to engineering, and to reinforce models of learning that will be useful to engineering students as they enter the professional workforce.
  • Service-Learning in engineering education is gaining ground throughout the country and throughout the variety of disciplinary focuses within engineering education. Examples of service-learning exist in mechanical engineering, construction science, computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, and other forms of related education. Engineering is uniquely situated for the integration of service-learning into the curriculum because of its emphasis on experiential education, problem solving, and working in groups.
  • The power and potential of service-learning in engineering education is demonstrated through successful programs such as EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) and Engineers Without Frontiers. These programs, linked to within the web resources, provide outstanding examples of integrated, interdisciplinary service-learning within engineering education.

To Publish[edit]

Resources[edit]

  • Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) National Program This web site details the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, providing an overview of EPICS, as well as evaluation data regarding the effectiveness of the program. EPICS “integrates highly mentored, long-term, large-scale, team-based, multidisciplinary design projects into the undergraduate engineering curriculum…teams work closely with a not-for-profit organization in the community to define, design, build, test, deploy and support projects that significantly improve the organization’s ability to serve the community.” This site provides links to each of the current 10 EPICS sites.
    • Service-Learning in Engineering Paper presented by William Oakes, et. al at the ASEE/IEEE 2002 Frontiers in Education Conference. The paper provides an overview of a panel discussion on several successful models of service-learning in engineering education, benefits and outcomes of service-learning in engineering, and how service-learning fits within the context of undergraduate engineering education.
    • EPICS: Engineering Projects in Community Service, E. Coyle et al., International Journal of Engineering Education, Volume 21 number 1, February 2005, pp. 139-150
  • ProCEED (Program for Community Engagement in Engineering Design)—University of Michigan ProCEED is a student organized program that brings together community based projects with engineering students. Through design courses, small groups of 3 to 5 engineering students work closely with community organizations and faculty on individual projects and take them from design through implementation. “As a result, community service organizations are provided with alternatives for solving important technical problems.”
  • Penn Engineering: Undergraduate Student Service Learning Activities Provides links to three service-learning programs for undergraduate engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania; 1) CommuniTech (non-profit student organization that seeks to "bridge" the digital divide both locally and globally), 2) Technology for Education Program (K-12 education in both West Philadelphia and West Africa by introducing and enhancing computer and Internet technology), and 3) Puente (non-profit student organization that seeks to "bridge" the technology gap in low-income areas throughout the world by enabling all persons to gain access to computers and the Internet).
  • Service-Learning and Engineering Ethics Paper presented by M.S. Pritchard at the International Conference on Ethics in Engineering and Computer Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Discusses accreditation requirements for engineering programs, including helping students acquire “an understanding of the ethical characteristics of the engineering profession and practice,” and provides a context for linking a service-learning experience to the curriculum to meet current accreditation requirements.

Notes[edit]

Source: Rachel L. Vaughn and Sarena D. Seifer, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, June 2004

National Service Learning Clearing Hours