Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings




All engineers must be able to apply and create models to be effective problem solvers, critical thinkers, and innovative designers. To be more successful in their studies and careers, students need a foundational knowledge about models. An adaptable approach can help students develop their modeling skills across a variety of modeling types, including physical models, mathematical models, logical models, and computational models. Physical models (e.g., prototypes) are the most common type of models that engineering students identify and discuss during the design process. There is a need to explicitly focus on varying types of models, model application, and model development in the engineering curriculum, especially on mathematical and computational models. This NSF project proposes two approaches to creating a holistic modeling environment for learning at two universities. These universities require different levels of revision to the existing first-year engineering courses or programs. The proposed approaches change to a unified language and discussion around modeling with the intent of contextualizing modeling as a fundamental tool within engineering. To evaluate student learning on modeling in engineering, we conducted pre and post surveys across three different first-year engineering courses at these two universities with different student demographics. The comparison between the pre and post surveys highlighted student learning on engineering modeling based on different teaching and curriculum change approaches.

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation


© 2020 American Society for Engineering Education


General Engineering