The role of structural engineering in multi-disciplinary freshman projects

David Dinehart, Joseph Yost, Shawn Gross, Aleksandra Z. Radlinska

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Channeling the excitement of young engineers in a first year introductory course offers many challenges for instructors. A common first year experience for freshmen engineers is now the norm, with many universities having a second common year. During the introductory courses it is essential to provide the students a broad view of engineering while engaging them to the fullest, such that their excitement is allowed to flourish in an active learning environment. This paper presents an overview of half-semester multidisciplinary projects introduced into Villanova University's 2009 - 2010 engineering freshmen curriculum and details two successful projects that incorporate structural engineering as a means for providing a hands-on, active learning experience. Both projects combine the disciplines of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. One project uses a structural engineering system as the main thrust area, with modeling techniques from mechanical engineering and data acquisition applications from electrical engineering highlighted. The second project involves acoustic technologies. In this project, electrical and mechanical engineering applications are investigated and elements of non-destructive examination and concrete material behavior are included. Students non-destructively or destructively evaluate the behavior of structural elements, construct/apply data acquisition systems, collect data, and synthesize the data to compare experimental results to theoretical predictions. Finally, students report their findings in written, graphical, and oral form. The projects highlighted provide civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering faculty members the necessary building blocks that can be applied to development of substantial educational experiences that fully engage young engineers. Data on the course outcomes and student evaluations for all projects will be presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Event2010 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Jun 20 2010Jun 23 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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