The first step most engineers take toward professional engineering licensure is taking the Fundamentals of Engineering examination administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. The examination is typically taken by students near completion of an undergraduate engineering degree. By following up with engineering experience and the Professional Engineering examination, engineers can be licensed in any of the 50 states of the U.S. Professional licensure is both an aid and an incentive to professionalism in engineers. Licensure provides a publicly recognized credential for engineering competence and professional ethics. The licensing process, together with state requirements for maintaining licensure, ensures that professional engineers have the depth and breadth of knowledge required for engineering practice. Knowledge of licensing requirements helps young engineers set their own standards for engineering competence. Virginia Tech has, for many years, assisted its senior engineering students in preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering examination. The program began in the 1970’s as an unofficial series of review lectures offered by engineering faculty. Later, it became a two credit hour course administered by the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics with modules taught by faculty from many engineering disciplines as well as mathematics and chemistry. The course was taught every spring, using a set of notes and problems prepared by the instructors and available to students at reproduction cost. Lectures were scheduled in the evening to reduce interference with other courses. In spring 2011, the course was taught for the first time as an asynchronous online course developed by the instructors working in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning. Updated lecture notes and problems were available for download, and lectures, recorded for the online course, were available for viewing as audio/video slide presentations using streaming video format. Since different faculty had different prior experience with computer-aided and online teaching, the different course modules used various online teaching techniques. The course website has been organized so that student response to the online materials may be monitored. Historically, Virginia Tech has had both high levels of undergraduate participation in the Fundamentals of Engineering examination and a high pass rate. Statistics on course registration, exam participation, and pass rate over the past decade are presented and compared with statistics for the new online course. In spite of a few technical and other issues, the online course appears to be a success. It is anticipated that feedback from this initial online offering will result in even better student acceptance and utilization of the online content, as well as examination performance, in the future.
Preparation for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination at Virginia Tech
Dillard, DA, Nipper, MD, Case, SW, & Kornhauser, AA. "Preparation for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination at Virginia Tech." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 5: Engineering Education and Professional Development. Denver, Colorado, USA. November 11–17, 2011. pp. 191-197. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2011-63558
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