EAS621, MTH599/499 and PHY495
Scientific Computing, Mathematics, and Physics Research Seminar
Professional Preparation Program
Fall 2016, UMass Dartmouth
This course will satisfy University Study 5-B (Learning through Engagement)
This will be a special and very innovative course. It is the
centerpiece of UMassDartmouth's Professional Preparation Program for
Math, Science, and Engineering students.
Although the course is organized around student projects, it is much
more. The course will give students an experience much more like the
technical workplace than the experience in most courses. It will also
provide skills that are lacking in most STEM bachelor's recipients,
deficiencies that have been pointed out by those who will be hiring
these graduates. The following are some of , but not all of, the
particular features of the course:
The nature of this course makes it impossible to specify a definitive
set of prerequisites. What is more important is student attitude.
Students must understand that what will be gained in this course is so
valuable to their future that it justifies the work that will be
required, and the discomfort of leaving their usual comfort zone.
For that reason, students must be approved by a faculty member in order
to register for the course.
- There will be a strong focus on oral and written technical
communication. There will be explicit instruction in communication,
but -- more important -- students will be required to give frequent
short oral presentations, and to write technical documents. There will
be constant feedback, by both faculty and students, on oral
presentations and technical writing
- The course is being designed with advice from Industrial advisors,
and these advisors will appear in class to tell students about life
- A frequent complaint of employers is that students have been
educated with "back of the chapter" problems, and cannot think
critically or bring together disparate technical elements. This
course will give practice in these skills.
- Another complaint is that collaborative work is an essential part of
the technical workplace, but graduates typically have little
preparation in this. The course will provide such preparation.
- A major complaint of tech employers is that students do not have the
reliability and conscientiousness that are necessary in the
competitive workplace. This course will instill a professional
attitude in the handling of student projects. In particular, there
will be firm deadlines for milestones, and inflexible deadlines for
such things as progress reports.
- An ongoing thread in the course will be real-world technical problems.
These problems will provide much of the basis for practice in communication,
critical thinking and collaborative work. The problems will be assigned
during the first two weeks of the course.