Project Catalyst: Successes And Frustrations Of Introducing Systemic Change To Engineering Education
2001 Annual Conference Proceedings
Project Catalyst is a NSF funded initiative to promote systemic change in engineering education by having faculty collaborate in teams to re-envision their roles in the students' learning process. The ultimate goals of the project are: • to educate engineering faculty in instructional design techniques that are then implemented throughout the curriculum • to transform the classroom into an active learning environment using cooperative learning and other learning approaches, and • to efficiently
... nd • to efficiently and effectively incorporate the use of information technology in the learning process. Initial efforts at Bucknell University have focussed on getting both faculty and students to work together as teams. For the first time, faculty members from across the engineering disciplines are making coordinated and sustained efforts to change the way they teach. This paper discusses the results of those initial efforts, including successes and failures of the initial implementation. The changes discussed were implemented in courses across the engineering curriculum, both in terms of class year and major. Conclusions and lessons are drawn from all of these courses, and three courses in particular are highlighted, to demonstrate "real" application of cooperative and collaborative learning ideas. While students and to some extent faculty are resistant to change, the observations of the Catalyst group show that altering the focus of engineering education is a worthwhile endeavor.