Experience Engineering: An Engineering Course for Non-Majors

  • Sirena Hargrove-Leak
Keywords: engineering for non-majors, course design and assessment


The engineering profession continues to struggle to attract new talent, in part because it is not well understood by the general public and often viewed in a negative light. Therefore, engineering professionals have called for new approaches promote better understanding and change negative perceptions. One suggested approach is for engineering professors to create and teach courses for non-majors, perhaps as an option to fulfill general studies requirements. This paper describes one such course developed and offered at Elon University. The Experience Engineering course features hands-on, interdisciplinary team experiences that result in a tangible product: a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Students are guided through the fundamental principles of physics, engineering, and electronics that govern the basic system components and operation. Teams are then challenged to integrate these basic components into a system design that is capable of achieving simulated real-world tasks within the confines of the materials provided, allotted budget, and available class time. In addition to discussing the course content in greater detail, this paper describes the assessment methods and outcomes from the first offering of the course.