The one-minute engineer: Getting design class out of the starting blocks

Beverly Jaeger, Sven Bilen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Recent trends in engineering education have resulted in academics more closely scrutinizing the education process itself in the ongoing quest for "a better way" to teach and train our future engineers. This search has revealed that potential opportunities for improvement to student learning lie within the mesh of the class structure itself. Educators have begun incorporating more active learning techniques and methods into the class structure, thereby making the students more responsible for aspects of their own education. In keeping with this trend and its effectiveness, we have developed a pedagogical tool, called the "One-Minute Engineer" (OME), which is simple in its application, but which serves to stimulate class involvement on the part of the students, as well as to motivate them - and ourselves as educators- to become more "curious observers" of our world. The OME method uses the initial minutes of class as a catalyst for the rest of the day's activities in the Engineering Design course. The OME is a brief educational moment in which either students or, occasionally, the professor presents a short overview of an engineering topic. It works as an abbreviated "show and tell" session for the class and the results from its use have been promising in terms of participation, feedback, and student interaction, as well as achieving defined educational objectives. By design, the OME is informal and informative, and it also can be fun. The OME, described in detail in this paper, was first piloted in an Engineering Design course at Northeastern University (NU) in 2004. Informal feedback was obtained on its effectiveness as a supplemental teaching and classroom engagement method; the students' responses were encouraging and enlightening. Following collaboration on the details, procedures, and protocol, the OME was adopted in a first-year Introduction to Engineering Design course at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State, PSU), during Spring 2005, where more formal data was collected. The student feedback from Penn State was both positive and informative. Penn State outcomes show that 93% of the students agreed that they felt more aware of engineering issues because of OME and over 82% found OME to be useful and interesting. On the basis of these survey results and a review of the more detailed written feedback from the students at Penn State, One-Minute Engineer was again implemented at NU in Fall 2005, with modifications to meet the needs of the course and to address some of the insightful requests from the Penn State students. The data and written feedback from the 2005 NU classes supported the Penn State findings that the OME provides significant increases in student awareness of engineering history, their surroundings, and current events. As the structure of the OME ensures it has minimal impact on class flow, the OME becomes a educational device to stimulate student awareness about engineering with very little sacrifice of class time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Event113th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2006 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2006Jun 21 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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