Integrated design, experimentation, analysis and life skills (IDEALS) courses

Thomas Litzinger, Martin Trethewey, John Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A number of teaching/learning reforms are underway in the College of Engineering at Penn State to enhance student learning with a special focus on providing opportunities for students to apply and integrate their knowledge and skills, and to develop lifelong learning skills. All of the reforms use problem-based, collaborative learning approaches to achieve the simultaneous development of professional and technical skills by requiring students to practice these skills in an integrated fashion, within a realistic context. In the reform effort underway in Mechanical Engineering, courses are being developed in an IDEALS format, where IDEALS refers to Integrated Design, Experimentation, Analysis, and Life Skills. Here "life skills" are professional skills such as communication skills, team skills, and lifelong learning. To date, two different approaches to the IDEALS courses have been piloted, a one-credit course, which links to core courses the students are taking concurrently, and an IDEALS version of a three-credit required course. In this paper, the two pilot courses are described along with student evaluations of the courses and faculty assessment of the effectiveness of the approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5997-6004
Number of pages8
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Event2001 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Peppers, Papers, Pueblos and Professors - Albuquerque, NM, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2001Jun 27 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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