Does Computer Usage Dictate the Curriculum?

by R. L. Sack, Univ of Oklahoma, Norman, United States,
B. E. Vieux, Univ of Oklahoma, Norman, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computing in Civil and Building Engineering


We have all heard anecdotes illustrating a stodgy, intransigent professor's disdain for the PC. Faculty resistance to computing runs the gambit from complete refusal to touch the things to an attitude of 'my way or no way.' The stories make for a good laugh, but upon reflection, they reveal one of today's academic tragedies. Curricular improvements are being stifled by resistive faculty. If Dr. No has never explored spreadsheets, he does not realize how this powerful computational tool can be used in engineering. In Dr. No's class, student's are not required to design engineering systems using the 'what if' features of a spreadsheet; the students never experience the excitement of obtaining an optimal design and looking at parametric sensitivity. The majority of entering engineering students have already had a good dose of computing experience and can hardly wait to apply their skills to engineering systems. We lose many of the freshmen if our curriculum demands that they go away until they master mathematics, physics and chemistry. Then we wonder why only 40% of entering freshmen in engineering graduate; they have been turned off by the curriculum.

Subject Headings: Computing in civil engineering | Curricula and extra curricula | Engineering education | Systems engineering | Faculty | Spreadsheets | Students | Load and resistance factor design

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