Course Objectives

Horenstein, 5th Edition


ISBN-13:  978-0134001876

ISBN-10:  0134001877

There are many purposes for an introductory engineering class, but we will be focused on building basic but necessary skills, problem solving and design processes, and exploring the various engineering disciplines and career paths.  Specific goals include:

  • Learning to use your tools: You probably have a sophisticated graphing calculator, and you probably have experience using it. You will also be gaining familiarity with additional tools and software to improve your problem solving, design, and communication skills.
  • Communicating effectively: When you have a creative idea or an inventive solution to a problem, you must be able express yourself well verbally, visually, and in writing. Construct a recognizable sketch, plot a meaningful graph, write an accurate description–whatever it takes. Other engineers with similar skills should understand you easily, but you should also be able to make yourself clear to people without any special skills or technical training.
  • Developing your creativity: Engineering design is different from most other areas of human creativity in that you must be able to actually build what you imagine...and have it work. The engineering design process is a structure to help direct your creativity in ways that make it easier to move from brilliant idea to working prototype to the latest device or gadget that we can’t live without.
  • Getting familiar with working numerically: Accuracy, precision, and units. No matter which engineering discipline you ultimately choose, you will need to get used to solving numeric problems, self-correcting, and getting the right answers at the end. This is only the beginning.
  • Mastering the problem solving process: You will be solving problems. It’s crucial to know how to use your tools, but even more important to recognize that the calculator or computer program is not solving the problem, you are. You will never, in your professional career, see a problem exactly like the examples you solve in class. But you will, every single day of your professional life, have real problems to solve.
  • Deciding on a discipline: You may already know precisely which type of engineering you want to study. But if you don’t you will be learning about those different disciplines, and what some typical career paths look like.
  • Contemplating your responsibilities: Engineers design products and structures that people use every day. And engineering decisions can have life-altering consequences, both for the engineer and the consumer. An engineer’s ethical standards are every bit as important as his or her technical skills.

© Nancy Jo Getson 2015-18