Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2141 - Standards for Future Engineering Practitioners

Standards for New Educators: Guide to ABET Outcomes and Standards Availability in Libraries - Charlotte Erdmann

See ABET: 3b, 3c, 3e, 3f, 3i, 3h, 3k

• Libraries buy standards that best meet needs of their customers

• Prior surveys indicate libraries are providing codes and standards in print, online, or some buy-on-demand; smaller libraries cannot provide as much as larger libraries due to publisher pricing issues

• Useful overview of standards, see chapter of Scientific & Technical Information Sources (1981)

o Current book: Hunter (2009) Standards Conformity Assessment and Accreditation for Engineer (See paper for additional background sources)

• Professionals continuously revise old & develop new standards

• Teaching idea: use current projects happening at your university (boiler install, concrete pavers, etc.) to illustrate standards and their applications

• Standards education considerations:

o Identify course(s) – subject, outcomes

o Work with librarian to develop collection and research education sessions

o Case Study example: Hose connections to fire hydrants (Boston in 1870s hose couplings didn’t match up)

What Do Employers Want in Terms of Employee Knowledge of Technical Standards and the Process of Standardization? - Bruce Harding and Paul McPherson

Global impact of standards: why & how does your cell phone work? Important to prepare future workforce and keep up with changes.

McPherson and Harding surveyed engineering professionals at the manager level to determine their use of standards and perceptions of skills of entry-level engineers. Over 50% use very often or quite often (a few times a week). They feel it’s important for students to learn about standards but not all were interested in working with local educational institutions to set up a standards education curriculum. Other world regions have course including standards within the curriculum but McPherson found only 4 universities n U.S. offer these types of courses so McPherson feels that U.S is far behind in this area. However, this doesn’t show how many universities are integrating standards education within the curriculum.


• cost of databases

• fitting course into existing curriculum

• lack of industry support.

Ideas to overcome these challenges

• two term multidisciplinary introductory course

• long term design-type project where students develop products and applicability to the product

• Independent study projects

• Internships & post-internship – students working with industry to become more familiar

McPherson followed up with a survey of Purdue alumni Spring 2010. Findings include that 89% felt standards are extremely important for overall growth and success of their company. 84% feel students entering the workforce need to understand how to find and apply standards. June 2010 ASME survey found that 40% of mechanical engineering department heads feel that curriculum coverage in this area is week. 50% of ME practitioners feel entry-level skills in this area are weak, and more than 80% feel that short case studies could be a way to introduce exposure to codes and standards.

Leveraging the Internet and Limited On-Campus Resources to Teach Information Literacy Skills to Future Engineering Practitioners - Charlotte Erdmann and Bruce Harding

Need: to fill students’ standards knowledge gap
Treasure Hunt Case study: Harding teaches a required Production Design and Specifications course. This activity is integrated into the end of the course. One half of the questions initially came from Machinery’s Handbook but now students must seek out other standards sources and technical handbooks. Students get assigned random questions from a bank of over 1000 to complete or teams of 2 get around 20 questions. Teamwork became mandatory in the past year and librarians found students were working on the assignment earlier. A conference attendee questioned the activity, whether or not it’s just finding the standards and less about interpretation of the actual standard found and how they should apply it to their problem. Some questions do have component where they students need to apply a calculation to come up with the answer, so it does go beyond just “finding” them.

Since 1986 librarians have worked with Harding to provide students with baseline information and a bibliography of suggested sources, not there’s an online standards subject guide which Erdmann created.

Around 1999 librarians created question framework: what, why, who would create this information, etc. to assist students and later developed an expert system used by students to determine appropriate databases or sources (see past ASEE conference proceedings).

The standards treasure hunt has received positive ABET commentary. The Purdue librarians continue to focus on continuous improvement.
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