Olin Engineering Education Experiment

Posted on May 25, 2006  Comments (9)

Excellent article: The Olin Experiment by Erico Guizzo:

Founded with more than US $460 million from the F.W. Olin Foundation, the school, which will graduate its first class at the end of this month, was conceived as perhaps the most ambitious experiment in engineering education in the past several decades. Olin’s aim is to flip over the traditional “theory first, practice later” model and make students plunge into hands-on engineering projects starting on day one. Instead of theory-heavy lectures, segregated disciplines, and individual efforts, Olin champions design exercises, interdisciplinary studies, and teamwork.

And if the curriculum is innovative, the school itself is hardly a traditional place: it doesn’t have separate academic departments, professors don’t get tenured, and students don’t pay tuition – every one of them gets a $130 000 scholarship for the four years of study.

Find out more about the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

Building a Better Engineer by David Wessel:

To a visitor, the school resembles any other small college. What’s different about it is its almost messianic mission: to change the way engineers are educated in the U.S. so that they can help the U.S. compete in a global economy with lots of smart, ambitious engineers in China, India and elsewhere. “If they become another good engineering school, they will have failed,” says Woodie Flowers, an MIT professor advising Olin. “The issue is to do it differently enough and to do it in way that will be exportable” to other colleges.

We share more thoughts on Olin’s efforts to improve engineering education on our other blog.

9 Responses to “Olin Engineering Education Experiment”

  1. CuriousCat: Engineering Education Program for k-12
    June 7th, 2006 @ 9:52 pm

    “a national program forming partnerships among Public Schools, Higher Education Institutions and the Private Sector to increase the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from our education system…”

  2. Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog » Blog Archive » Improving Engineering Education
    June 17th, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

    […] On our Science and Engineering blog I just posted on the Olin Engineering Education Experiment. It is a great story of doing things differently. […]

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Blog Archive » New Engineering School for England
    July 11th, 2006 @ 10:35 pm

    “students will be encouraged to apply their theoretical learnings from maths, science and other subjects in a real world context using the most up-to-date technology and equipment made available in the School…”

  4. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Blog Archive » A New Engineering Education
    July 20th, 2006 @ 11:14 pm

    […] See our previous posts: Olin Engineering Education Experiment – Improving Engineering Education UW has been able to turn around a dismal attrition rate in the early 1990s, when two-thirds of engineering students didn’t stick with the program. Today, close to 60% of engineering students graduate with a degree in the field, he said. […]

  5. Curious Cat: Innovative Science and Engineer Higher Education
    October 9th, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

    “the real fun happens in the research labs, where students work on projects such as a slithering snake robot for search-and-rescue missions…”

  6. Cutting-Edge Science and Engineering Programs « World of Engineering
    October 16th, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

    This post comes from the “Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog” by John Hunter. It is about very innovative engineering programs highlighted in the latest Popular Mechanics. Following is the quote of the post by John…

  7. CuriousCat: Educating Engineering Geeks
    June 8th, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

    “So MIT must shift gears, and embrace two basic missions: continuing to produce world-class experts (geeks) – practicing engineers who design complicated systems – and generating world-class leaders (chiefs), who will deploy their technological expertise in the real-world…”

  8. CuriousCat: Re-engineering Engineering Education
    June 19th, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    “Students also experience the business world firsthand through Olin’s senior consulting program for engineering. This year 12 corporations — including Boeing, Boston Scientific, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM — paid Olin a combined $700,000 to have groups of five seniors serve as consultants for a full academic year…”

  9. CuriousCat: Google 3D Campus Competition
    September 12th, 2007 @ 9:43 pm

    The seven winning teams (including one from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering) visited Google’s Mountain View Headquarters.

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