A project based learning engineering course for a summer bridge program

Julie M. Hasenwinkel, Kathryn R. Pynn

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review


We offer a six-week summer bridge program (SummerStart) that is open to all entering first-year students in Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University. Historically, underrepresented minority (URM) students, women and first generation students have been recruited for this program and given scholarship support to attend. Compared to the entering first-year class, the SummerStart cohort typically has a significantly higher percentage of students who are at risk for attrition from Engineering and Computer Science. In this program in 2013, an existing engineering seminar course was transformed into a project based learning (PBL) engineering course, following previous success with curricular revision in a math course for the bridge program. The goals for the PBL course included: 1) establishing meaningful faculty-student interactions during the program, 2) introducing first-year students to real-world engineering projects and problem solving, and 3) enhancing the students' enthusiasm for engineering, effective teamwork, and attitudes towards persistence in Engineering and Computer Science. Our results show that the design of this course had a significant positive impact on students' interest in their majors, their attitudes about persistence in Engineering and Computer Science, and their performance in their first semester Engineering and Computer Science course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Volume122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society
Issue number122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for...
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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