Engineering virtual studio: Online context and community for underclassmen engineers

Kurt A. Thoroughman, Alessandra A. Hruschka, Kathryn E. Ruzicka, Patricia L. Widder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Myopia on foundations early in undergraduate work is pandemic throughout STEM undergraduate training. This "sink or swim" foundational approach begets attrition and reduced motivation, engagement, and performance for those rugged students who stay in the major. Current approaches to alleviating this myopia, including integrative curricula and extracurricula, provide some context and community, but require great faculty and staff effort, and often requires onerous changes to the base curriculum, while leaving students stranded segueing into the sophomore year. Here we introduce and report on an initial pilot of an online alternative. Our one-credit, pass/fail course, Engineering Virtual Studio (EVS), provides explicit connections between foundational courses and real-world products and problems. The course also fosters both scholarly and pre-professional identity building as constant processes. We report on the course design, work in progress in our pilot year, and opportunity for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2013 Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationEnergizing the Future, FIE 2013 - Proceedings
Number of pages3
StatePublished - 2013
Event43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013 - Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2013Oct 26 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOklahoma City, OK


  • Cyberlearning
  • Identity
  • Integrative thought
  • Underclassmen


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