Instructional use of computers in a hands-on programming course for first-year engineering students

Janet K. Lumpp, Jennifer Lovely, Laura Marie P.E. Letellier, David L. Silverstein, Derek Lynn Englert, John R. Baker, Neil Moore, John F. Maddox, Julie Gordon Whitney, Doug Klein, Whitney C. Blackburn-Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This Work in Progress paper describes the instructional use of computers in first-year engineering courses at the University of Kentucky (UK), a large public land grant institution which is the primary source of engineering graduates in the state. The College of Engineering (COE) at UK has transitioned to a common first-year experience from previously separate departmental introductory courses paired with one of two required computer science courses. The goals for the new curriculum are to increase retention, standardize the number of credits in each degree program and allow students to explore before committing to a specific plan of study. For the new computer programming course, the content pairs the sensors and actuators commonly utilized by a variety of engineers with the programming skills needed to collect and interpret data. These skills carry over to the team design project that involves programming, sensors, actuators, construction and testing of a complete system. The programming skills carried into the sophomore level courses have been well received by some departments and less than satisfactory to other departments which has led to more deliberate independent programming assignments. In this paper, we describe the implementation of in a new course sequence for ~900 students per year and preliminary results from course evaluations across the engineering curricula. While the program has only been in place 3 years, the initial trends show the program is correlated to improving retention, teaching useful programming skills and improving a sense of belonging to engineering which have been shown to correlate to improved graduation rates. Further analysis is needed to compare responses across each engineering and computer science discipline.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2019.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Instructional use of computers in a hands-on programming course for first-year engineering students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this