Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Course Objectives
Welcome to the SWANSON School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh

ENGR0012 Course Objectives - Spring 2018

You are a diverse group of students, geographically, politically, and economically. Most of you are from Western Pennsylvania, but some of you are from other parts of the United States; some of you are from the inner cities, some from the suburbs, some from the rural areas and some from foreign countries. But whoever you are and wherever you are from, all of you share the common goal of obtaining a degree in engineering.

For those of you who are from the U.S., there is the additional concern about our country's future. You have all heard a lot about an international economy and the decline of some industries due to foreign competition. To remain competitive, our country needs to maintain a strong technology base, supported by well committed, well-trained engineers. We hope to prepare you to participate in building and maintaining the U.S.'s technological leadership.

We want your enrollment in Pitt's School of Engineering to be a satisfying and rewarding educational experience. We will do whatever we can, within reason, to provide you with assistance and advice. In return we expect you to work hard, be fair and honest with yourselves and with others, and remember that good things generally do not come easily in life. Obtaining a Pitt engineering degree is well worth the hard work required to earn it.

ENGR0012 is an integrative course in computer programming with engineering applications. The course has the following main goals:

  1. To teach you to program a computer using a general-purpose programming language.
  2. To teach you to design programs using a "top-down" approach.
  3. To promote and encourage good programming practices.
  4. To illustrate the role of computer programming in solving engineering problems.
  5. To show what values come with working in a group environment
  6. To introduce the required library research skills and communication skills used by all engineers
  7. To provide an overview of how material in the basic sciences and mathematics is applied by engineers to solve practical problems of interest to society.

Programming a computer is a skill, like playing the piano. It can be learned only by constant, repetitious practice.

For many years, engineers used Fortran as their principal programming language. In recent years, however, there has been a strong movement in the computer science area toward the use of a newer language, called C or C++, for technical and commercial software development, and in the engineering area toward a software package called Matlab for problem solving. We will be concerned with the use of both Matlab and C in this course.

There will be two 2-hour active learning sessions each week. All of the instruction will take place on-line, in the School of Engineering 2nd floor computing lab in room Benedum 229 or Gardner Steel first floor classroom GSCC 138. Each class will consist of a series of brief informal lectures, totaling roughly 40-60 minutes long, followed by an active-learning session in which you will be required to complete one or two relatively simple programming problems.

Contribution of ENGR0012 towards fulfillment of ABET Criterion 3

  1. apply knowledge of mathematics, science,and engineering:
    ENGR0012 is an engineering analysis course that builds upon the students background in physics, calculus in such a way that a linkage is formed between abstract mathematical concepts and physical problems common to engineering practice.
  2. design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data:
    This course does not include conducting experiments but does discuss how to analyze the resulting data using basic statistical packages and curve fitting software.
  3. design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs:
    The course introduces the concept of analyzing components of a problem and how to represent the resulting solution. The logic is taught as part of the computer programming components and the writing assignments teach the basic research skills needed to document a problem/solution.
  4. function on multi-disciplinary teams:
    The course uses teams for all the homework, and a percentage of the quizzes. The concept of multi-disciplinary is stressed since the students represent all the majors in Engineering, and reinforces the concept of teamwork. In addition, during ENGR0012 the writing assignment is done in a team of two co-authors, to introduce the difficulty of expressing in words the view of a team.
  5. identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems:
    The course teaches students to formulate and solve various types of problems during the programming phase of the course.
  6. appreciate an understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities:
    In the writing component of this course, students are required to research a product or service that someone in their selected field would be involved with during their career. The topic must address a present day issue and part of the paper must address the ethical responsibility of engineers to address sustainability in any type of engineering design. The freshman conference also includes over 40 practicing engineers that act as conference session chairs. These chairs meet with the students at least twice during the process, and one meeting is to discuss the paper topic and the value of being a professional engineer, and the second meeting addresses the ethical issues in including sustainable issues into the design constraints of every project.
  7. communicate effectively
    This course integrates the first year General Writing course. The writing component continues throughout the entire year into ENGR0012. In addition, to improving the student writing skills, the course also requires an oral and poster presentation.
  8. appreciate the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global societal context:
    As part of the 5 writing assignments throughout the semester, one assignment involves modifying their research paper to include the impact engineering solutions have on a global society. The assignment is designed to directly address this ABET requirement.
  9. recognize the need for an ability to engage in life - long learning:
    As noted above the course has a number of writing assignments, these assignments are designed to directly address not only this issue but the need to become a registered engineer.
  10. develop an interest in gaining knowledge of contemporary issues:
    By researching and writing a conference paper on an important topic in today's engineering world, we introduce the students to the importance engineers have in addressing contemporary issues.
  11. use techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for the practice of Engineering:
    The entire course stresses the need for engineers to be well versed in using modern computing software.