Thursday, October 27, 2005
Course gives students real-world experience
By Dawn Pauli, OU Writer
In a class of 20 freshmen engineering students, nationwide statistics show six to eight of those students will drop out, either bored by the theory classes or overwhelmed by the tough math and science courses.
To combat this and to keep students interested in engineering while they study the basics, a pilot study is being conducted by the School of Engineering and Computer Science in a one-credit freshman course using a CAD software package that gives students a taste of what engineers do in the real world.
Using the Part Design Workbench program students implement a part and learn how to create an assembly process simulation.
“The national percentage of freshmen students leaving engineering programs is 30 to 40 percent,” said Imad Elhajj, assistant professor of engineering. “This is even higher for minorities and under-represented groups. Therefore, this problem is of national interest and OU is addressing it not only by introducing this course but also by restructuring, remolding and modernizing the engineering curriculum at all levels. We want to increase retention while maintaining a high quality of teaching.”
The software also provides students valuable, transferable skills for the marketplace. Delmia, an international software company headquartered in Auburn Hills, provided the $2 million software package to Oakland University at a substantial educational discount.
“The software gives students experience with a tool used in several industries for design and implementation,” Elhajj said. “It introduces a tool that allows them to be more competitive in getting internships and jobs in the future.”
For more information on OU’s engineering program, visit the School of Engineering and Computer Science Web site.