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IMPLEMENTING AN OUTCOMES-BASED EDUCATION FRAMEWORK IN THE TEACHING OF ENGINEERING MECHANICS (STATICS)

IMPLEMENTING AN OUTCOMES-BASED EDUCATION FRAMEWORK IN THE TEACHING OF ENGINEERING MECHANICS (STATICS)

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Published by Andy Oreta
To address the growing demand by accrediting and higher education institutions to adopt Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) as a platform for accreditation and improvement of engineering programs, the Department of Civil Engineering, De La Salle University, Manila introduced the principles of outcomes-based education in the undergraduate program. OBE is a “student-centered learning philosophy that focuses on empirically measuring student performance.” This paper presents the implementation of the OBE framework in a basic undergraduate engineering course – Engineering Mechanics (Statics of Rigid Bodies) from syllabus design to course assessment in order to illustrate OBE’s principles and continuous improvement process (CIP). A description and preliminary results of an on-going research on STATICS course are also discussed.
To address the growing demand by accrediting and higher education institutions to adopt Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) as a platform for accreditation and improvement of engineering programs, the Department of Civil Engineering, De La Salle University, Manila introduced the principles of outcomes-based education in the undergraduate program. OBE is a “student-centered learning philosophy that focuses on empirically measuring student performance.” This paper presents the implementation of the OBE framework in a basic undergraduate engineering course – Engineering Mechanics (Statics of Rigid Bodies) from syllabus design to course assessment in order to illustrate OBE’s principles and continuous improvement process (CIP). A description and preliminary results of an on-going research on STATICS course are also discussed.

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Published by: Andy Oreta on Nov 24, 2012
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 International Conference on Civil Engineering Education (ICCEE2012), ISSN 2244-3738 November 9-10, 2012 De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
 
IMPLEMENTING AN OUTCOMES-BASED EDUCATION FRAMEWORK IN THE TEACHING OF ENGINEERING MECHANICS (STATICS)
Andres Winston C. Oreta and Cheryl Lyne C. Roxas
De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
 ABSTRACT:
To address the growing demand by accrediting and higher education institutions toadopt Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) as a platform for accreditation and improvement of engineering programs, the Department of Civil Engineering, De La Salle University, Manilaintroduced the principles of outcomes-based education in the undergraduate program. OBE is a“student-centered learning philosophy that focuses on empirically measuring student performance.” This paper presents the implementation of the OBE framework in a basicundergraduate engineering course – Engineering Mechanics (Statics of Rigid Bodies) fromsyllabus design to course assessment in order to illustrate OBE’s principles and continuousimprovement process (CIP). A description and preliminary results of an on-going research onSTATICS course are also discussed.
 KEYWORDS 
: Outcomes-Based Education, Outcomes-Based Assessment, EngineeringMechanics
1. INTRODUCTION: AN OBE FRAMEWORK 
Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) is a new paradigm in engineering education that is being pursued in the United States and other countries, including the Philippines. OBE is a “student-centered learning philosophy that focuses on empirically measuring student performance calledoutcomes” (Felder & Brent 2003). Motivations for implementing OBE can be “to improvelearning” (Biggs 2003) or “to meet accreditation needs” (Felder & Brent 2003).
Mission/VisionEGAPEOStudentOutcomesCourseAssessmentCourse Planning &Delivery
Syllabus
Teaching Methods
Learning Activities
Assessment Tools
OUTCOMES
   I   N   S   T   I   T   U   T   I   O   N   P   R   O   G   R   A   M
CoursesLearningOutcomes
   C   O   U   R   S   E
ProgramAssessment
   I   M   P   R   O   V   E   M   E   N   T   S
   i  n   d  u  s   t  r  y  a  n   d  p  r  o   f  e  s  s   i  o  n  a   l  o  r  g  s   I   N   P   U   T   S   &   F   E   E   D   B   A   C   K
InstitutionalAssessment
ASSESSMENTEVALUATION
 
Mission/VisionEGAPEOStudentOutcomesCourseAssessmentCourse Planning &Delivery
Syllabus
Teaching Methods
Learning Activities
Assessment Tools
OUTCOMES
   I   N   S   T   I   T   U   T   I   O   N   P   R   O   G   R   A   M
CoursesLearningOutcomes
   C   O   U   R   S   E
ProgramAssessment
   I   M   P   R   O   V   E   M   E   N   T   S
   i  n   d  u  s   t  r  y  a  n   d  p  r  o   f  e  s  s   i  o  n  a   l  o  r  g  s   I   N   P   U   T   S   &   F   E   E   D   B   A   C   K
InstitutionalAssessment
ASSESSMENTEVALUATION
 
Figure 1. An OBE Framework 
 
 International Conference on Civil Engineering Education (ICCEE2012), ISSN 2244-3738 November 9-10, 2012 De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
 
OBE is not an end but a process of continuously improving education as shown in Figure 1. InOBE, the outcomes are first defined and then the design of the curriculum including the teachingand learning activities (TLAs) and assessment tasks (ATs) follows. In defining the outcomes, ahierarchy must be followed, with the university vision-mission at the top. Based on theuniversity’s vision-mission, the expected graduate attributes (EGAs) can be identified. TheEGAs are characteristics or qualities of students of a university upon graduation. To achievethese attributes, each program in a university must define a set of program or student outcomes(SOs) which address specific EGAs. The program or student outcomes can be defined by eachuniversity or may follow standards required by national institutions like the Commission onHigher Education (CHED) or accrediting organizations like the Philippine TechnologicalCouncil (PTC) in the Philippines. Program or student outcomes are narrow statements thatdescribe outcomes (knowledge, skills, abilities, values) of what students are expected to knowand be able to do by the time of graduation. Related to the SOs are the Program EducationalObjectives (PEOs). PEOs are broad statements that describe what graduates are expected toattain within a few years (usually five years) after graduation. Assessment of PEOs is done after a few years of graduation while achievement of SOs should be done immediately after graduation.A program (e.g. Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering) follows a curriculum with a set of courses which a student must complete or “pass” in order to earn a specific degree. In OBE, thecourse learning outcomes of each course is at the bottom level in the hierarchy of outcomes. Toassure the achievement of EGAs and SOs, the course learning outcomes (LOs) must be alignedwith specific EGAs and SOs. Since outcomes cascade from top to bottom (Figure 1), thecurriculum design also follows the same direction from program to course level. Delivery of instruction and assessment, on the other hand, is carried out from bottom to top. The course isthe basic element which comprises a program. Thus, assessment of achievement of outcomes inthe course level must be carried out first to evaluate how effective are the TLAs and ATs inachieving the LOs. Program assessment will then follow to measure the achievement of EGAsand SOs. To close the loop of the continuous improvement process of OBE, changes or adjustments in the curriculum at the program and/or course level must be implemented.The Department of Civil Engineering, De La Salle University is at its infancy stage of adoptingOBE. The principles of OBE, specifically the definition of learning outcomes and the design of the syllabi for civil engineering courses, have started to be implemented by the faculty. Fullimplementation of OBE may be required in the engineering programs since engineeringaccrediting bodies and higher education institutions and technical organizations in thePhilippines (e.g. PTC, CHED and PATE) have started to embrace OBE as a platform for accreditation and improvement of the engineering education.This paper presents the implementation of the OBE framework in a basic undergraduateengineering course – Engineering Mechanics (Statics of Rigid Bodies) from syllabus design tocourse assessment. Lessons on how to effectively implement OBE in other civil engineeringcourses may be derived from this paper.
 
 International Conference on Civil Engineering Education (ICCEE2012), ISSN 2244-3738 November 9-10, 2012 De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
 
2. HIGHER LEVEL OUTCOMES2.1 Expected Graduate Attributes
De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines created a “vision of their ideal graduate” andimplemented the Expected Lasallian Graduate Attributes (ELGA) in 2009 (The Lasallian 2012).ELGA emphasizes on four qualities Lasallians should embody upon graduating from theUniversity. The four ELGA states that Lasallian graduates must be:(a)
 
a critical and creative thinker,(b)
 
an effective communicator,(c)
 
a reflective lifelong learner, and(d)
 
a service-driven Citizen.The ELGA has become “the framework for curriculum mapping, creation of course contents,methods of assessment, and modes of classroom instruction.” To concretize the ELGA in thecurriculum, DLSU conducted Faculty Development Seminars on the revision of the coursesyllabi. The syllabus writing seminars introduced a template wherein the syllabi must clearlydefine the course learning outcomes in relation to the four elements of ELGA.
2.2 Outcomes at the Program Level
At the program level, Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) and the Program or StudentOutcomes (SOs) which should be aligned with the expected graduate attributes must be clearlydefined. Presently, PEOs have not yet been defined in each program. However, programoutcomes have already been incorporated in the Policies and Standards of CHED for variousengineering programs. Program outcomes are the same as student outcomes (SOs) and are usedsynonymously. Each program has to address these SOs for minimum compliance and theuniversity may add more SOs if necessary.Since the Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE) has not yet clearly stated the PEOs of thevarious programs in the college, the vision-mission of the college and each department can serveas a framework at the program level in the design and planning of the curriculum. The vision-mission can be the basis in formulating the PEOs.2.2.1. College Vision-MissionThe vision-mission of the GCOE which states that (DLSU-GCOE, 2012):
“As an integral part of a university that envisions to become a leading research institution with significant international impact and strong local commitment, the College of Engineering is positioned tomake major contributions by providing leadership and innovation in engineering and related fields toassist in the economic and social development of the Philippines.
 
To educate and nurture technically competent men and women for careers of leadership and innovation in engineering and other related fields.

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