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Engineers Code: Re-usable, Open Educational Modules for Engineering Undergraduates

Moderated by: Naty Clementi

Computing should be embedded in the undergraduate curriculum, such that students develop early and continuously improve the skills they need to use computing in other subjects. We are developing shareable learning modules to use in the engineering curriculum. They integrate the taxonomy of computational thinking by Weintrop et al. (2016):

  1. Data practices
  2. Modeling and simulation practices
  3. Computational problem-solving
  4. Systems-thinking practices

We can transform science and engineering education by making computational thinking infrastructural: embedded, ubiquitous, and contextual. To accomplish this, we need open instructional materials that are designed to be reusable, and community efforts to share good practices for teaching with them. Our foundation modules are ready to adopt (or modify, under BSD-3 license); they are:
Module 1: Get data off the ground. Learn to interact with Python and handle data with Python.
Module 2: Take off with stats. Hands-on data analysis using a computational approach and real-life applications.
Module 3: Fly at changing systems. Tackling the dynamics of change with computational thinking.

The key concepts and design principles are:

  1. the idea of “computable content”—educational content (using Jupyter) made powerfully interactive via compute engines in the learning platform
  2. open pedagogy—reflecting in the teaching practice the ethos and practices of open source software
  3. modularization—creating stackable learning modules that break-up the standard “course” format
  4. harnessing “worked-example effect”—a cognitive-load effect empirically shown to be superior to problem-solving for novice learners
  5. fact-to-face active learning with live coding
  6. guiding learners to document their own work

The Jupyter notebooks for these three modules are shared on a "GitHub repository”:https://github.com/engineersCode/EngComp and the online version of the "first module”:http://go.gwu.edu/engcomp1 is already live on our Open edX site.

Our aim is to start a community of educators sharing and remixing learning modules like these, to teach engineering subjects at all levels.