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A Chronology of the Development of Integrated Learning in Applied Science at Queen's
updated August 2004

The key components of integrated learning are increased use of team-based learning (develop communication and team skills), increased use of project-based learning (develop open-ended problem solving skills, independent learning skills, integration of material from different courses, connection of theory to practice, increased use of real problems), and collaborative offerings of some labs in areas studied by several departments (communicate broader range of applications of theory to student, more intensive use of space and equipment). Not technically part of integrated learning, but valuable aspects of the planned new curriculum and facility, are learning opportunities offered by monitoring building functions, and the potential for longer, more realistic, more complex projects when the constraints of the slot system are removed.


Any summary of the development of these techniques at Queen's must be arbitrary in what it includes, since nearly all of these techniques have been used in some form in some class. Many of them appear in informal settings too, like the competition projects: solar car, mini-Baja, SAE, cargo aircraft, concrete canoe and several others.


These examples, valuable as they are, have been primarily the creation of inspired individuals. This chronology below is concerned with the efforts to develop integrative learning as a more prominent and more extensive part of our teaching, beginning in 1993.


July 1991

At the suggestion of Carl Hamacher, Jim McCowan attended the third New Approaches to Undergraduate Education Workshop, which was held in Canada (at Banff) in 1991. Carl had great faith in Mac VanValkenberg who, with Ed Ernst and others, had created the eight-year NAUEE series (1989-1996). Participation in this and all subsequent NAUEE meetings gave us an inside view of the operations of the Coalitions in the U.S.A., and of innovations generally in U.S. engineering schools.


December 1992

Met with David Walker, Susan Wilcox, Wendy Pentland, Virginia Bartley, Rita Maloney and others regarding the use in medically-related departments of problem-based learning for about 25% of education. Julia MacFarland reported on City Polytechnic of Hong Kong introduction of PBL. Users very enthusiastic about results.


January 1993

Creation of CHEE 471 by Barrie Jackson, which has developed in every year since its introduction. It utilizes interdisciplinary teams of fourth year students in solving real problems from governmental agencies and industry, with extensive reporting and communication. Barrie subsequently won the CCPE medal in education for this work.


September 1993

Creation of CAVE, a competitive, multidisciplinary, team-based robotic-vehicle project by Jim Mason, Lloyd Peppard and Randy Ellis (with Peter Gallant as teaching assistant). Participation in CAVE was an accepted way of fulfilling the requirements in the fourth year project course in any of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Engineering Physics.


June 1994

Civil Engineering reported on a broad review of their curriculum, partially funded by the Faculty. They dealt with the attitudes and skills which they hoped to foster in their graduates more explicitly and more extensively than had been usual in the Faculty. They developed and initiated a major change in the curriculum with more integration of material, more emphasis on communications, innovative use of very short courses and of P/F gradings, and more use of learning technology.


October 1994

Jim McCowan 'floated a trial balloon' to the First Year Committee and to the Engineering Society advocating a significant change in year one teaching. The key features recommended were central Faculty responsibility for both content and delivery of year one with the objective of obtaining much better integration of the material, the adoption of learning techniques that developed the students capacity for self-learning, increased design content, utilization of modularized labs, and increased use of the potential freedom offered by the commonality of the first year. In response to this proposal, many new ideas were contributed by faculty and students over the next year or so.


February 1995

All members of the faculty and all students were invited to an afternoon discussion of the objectives of the first year program. The discussion took place in Ellis Auditorium. Jeff Adams from Physics, George Richardson from Mechanical and Dave Turcke from Civil each made presentations and there was much discussion.


Subsequently, a survey was distributed to all faculty members and to many students. It collected views on what the objectives of the first year program should be.


August 1995

The School of Business expressed interest in, and agreed to offer, a course training fourth year students in acting as team leaders and mentors for first year teams, including ongoing support for those mentors during the session.


June 1996

Pat Oosthuizen organized and hosted the Canadian Conference on Engineering Education at Queen's.


July 1996

Jim Mason chaired and organized the Eighth (and last) workshop on New Approaches to Undergraduate Engineering Education at Queen's.


September 1996

Jim Mason was appointed as Associate Dean (First Year) with a mandate to integrate first year courses and develop innovative learning methods.


In an initiative entitled AWhy Queen=s Engineering?@, Dean Tom Harris challenged Committee of Heads and Faculty Board to develop programs that distinguished Queen=s from other engineering faculties so that we might compete for the best students internationally.


October 1996

Home pages created for first year program.


November 1996

Jim Mason visited the ITLL facility at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Tom Harris discussed the links between the 'Why Queen's Engineering?' initiative and our hopes for the upcoming capital campaign.


January 1997

MECH 452 was introduced with a focus on 'small' group design projects that will require the integration of elements of machine design, electronics, computer science and control systems.


March 1997

Through the Committee of Heads, the Dean invited submissions regarding items to include in the capital campaign. Peter Blaney (an experienced fundraiser) was employed to visit heads, to synthesize and analyze suggestions from all quarters, and to develop the basis of a fundraising campaign for Applied Science projects.


April 1997

Faculty Board adopts a Faculty-directed first year program, with APSC designators on all courses.


September 1997

Peter Blaney's report to the Dean and Department Heads,  Breakaway Leadership, was published. Breakaway Leadership gave prominence and support to the ILC.


AQUFYAS@ was introduced on a trial basis for 60 year one students. It featured some formal consideration of team functioning, project-based learning, and increased communication training and opportunities.


May 1998

The Department of Development incorporated Integrated Learning into its plans for the Capital Campaign and obtained background material from the Faculty Office.


September 1998

AQUFYAS@ was extended to 200 students in year one.


MECH 460 was modified to employ teams as much as possible in externally generated projects. MECH 497 introduced interuniversity teams and projects, with communication by electronic means.


November 1998

The presentation to Faculty Board on the impact of ATOP included a section on its potential relationship to the Integrated Learning Centre, which was central to the Applied Science portion of the capital campaign. The Dean said that a different model of how we delivered education was unfolding.


A general e-mail to faculty, and to selected students and alumni outlined the current ideas on integrated learning and an Integrated Learning Centre and sought input. There were several dozen responses, many of them lengthy, and virtually all of them supportive.


December 1998

Jim Mason gave a presentation to Faculty Board on a November visit to ITLL at Colorado by Dave Turcke, Steve Hornsby and himself. This presentation was subsequently posted on the Faculty website. There was discussion of how the Colorado facility might compare with the proposed facility at Queen=s. found. The Academic Planning Committee will be responsible for developing the concept for Queen=s and will form two subcommittees, one dealing with innovation in teaching in all years and the second dealing with what sort of physical structure and space the Faculty needs to accommodate and support innovation. Both subcommittees will try to communicate effectively with students, staff, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders in the ILC. Every staff member and student was urged to contribute in any way. The launch of the next capital campaign gives the Faculty an opportunity to seek financial support for this project.


January 1999

Jim McCowan spent one day at Aalborg University while returning from other business in Europe. He met with their educational evaluation group, viewed some of their facilities, and had a discussion with people from both Aalborg and La Mancha, the latter group being at Aalborg to evaluate its techniques for use in their faculty.


February 1999

Academic Planning announced to Faculty Board the creation of two new Subcommittees, one chaired by Jim Mason concerned with Innovative Learning (Lynann Clapham, John Hanes, Brian Hunter, Peter Jones, Jim Mason, Pat Oosthuizen and the President and appropriate Vice-President of the Engineering Society) and one chaired by Jim McCowan concerned with the creation of an Integrated Learning Centre (Gerald Dyer, Jim McCowan, Vicki Remenda, Rick Sellens, Stafford Tavares, Dave Turcke and the President and appropriate Vice-President of the Engineering Society).


Jim Mason presented Faculty Board with an extensive presentation on First Year, especially the roles of QUFYAS and APSC 100.


March 1999

The Office of Advancement publishes the Campaign Priority list for the upcoming Capital Campaign. The ILC is the top-ranked item within Applied Science.


Steve Hornsby, appointed by Development in January to manage the capital campaign for Applied Science, reported to Faculty Board on his plans, with integrated learning being the central feature.


Jim Mason and Steve Hornsby made a presentation to the Engineering Society about their visit to Colorado.


April 1999

ILC Subcommittee recommends Faculty funding of new MECH 215 laboratory as a testing ground for modularized work and interdepartmental collaboration.


May 1999

Faculty Board received the Report of the Academic Planning Committee presenting the main features that were visualized for inclusion in an Integrated Learning Centre.


An ATOP coordinator was hired to coordinate the purchase and installation of ATOP funded equipment. In making these purchases, consideration was given to the possible wider use of such equipment in the future as facilities for integrated learning emerged.


Committee of Heads received a proposal for a prototype ILC facility suited to mechanical projects and experimentation.


Five students were hired for the summer, forming the Student Summer Project Group. A major part of the groups= activity was collecting suggestions (from departments and from students) regarding the development of an Integrated Learning Centre.


Don Woods from McMaster visited Queen's for two days and gave a public talk on problem-based learning in engineering.


June 1999

Erik Pedersen from Aalborg University visited Queen's for a week. Faculty were invited to meet with him and/or hear his presentation. He gave two public lectures, one on project-based learning as used in all faculties at Aalborg and one more specific to engineering. He spent time with all groups that asked for visits.


Derek Cooper began devoting part of his time to ILC matters, with a view to playing increasing role as ATOP demands are met.


July 1999

Individual letters were sent to the Heads and Undergraduate Chairs of all twelve departments with some degree of responsibility for programs in the Faculty. Copies of these inquiries were sent to many other people who had expressed interest. The letters outlined the picture that had emerged of what an Integrated Learning Centre might contain and asked for input on their Department's potential usage. Questions specific to each department's activities were asked about both transfer of existing activities and opportunities to create new activities. Similar letters were sent to the Department of Biology, the Director of the School of Environmental Studies and the Deans in Business, Education, and Medicine. Responses to these inquiries were extensive and lead to meetings with the Deans and Associate Deans in Business and Education and with some unit Heads in Medicine.


August 1999

Jim Avery, the Technical Director of the ITLL at Colorado, visited Queen's for two days. Faculty were invited by e-mail to meet him or attend the meeting. He gave one public meeting on ITLL and met with interested groups.


Queen's publishes Physical Capacity Planning: Campus 2004 outlining the University's plans to build five structures, of which the ILC was one. The Principal and Vice-Principals' Committee approves the project and establishes an Executive Committee.


September 1999

APSC 100 was introduced incorporating QUFYAS and introducing a design component for half of the students in the year.


Derek Cooper and Ken Roth begin a round of meetings with people identified by their department heads as being involved in teaching certain subjects where there are possibilities of interdepartmental collaboration. Some fifty people took part over the next three months. The subject areas were fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, process control, sensors and data acquisition, HVAC, thermodynamics, combustion, soil mechanics, environmental site studies, electronics and circuits, robotics, electric machines, measurement and testing, communications and fibre optics, computing, design, microprocessor applications, and networks.


CIVL 467 employs student teams in 'comprehensive engineering design projects which involve the creative interactive process of creating a structure or system to meet a specified need subject to economic, health, safety and environmental constraints'.


Committee of Heads received a summary of progress made over the summer. Tom Harris urged departments to think about how to utilize the ILC to offer new features in their courses.


October 1999

Jim Mason spent two weeks at the ITLL in Boulder and was able to observe their design courses in operation. Jim McCowan and two students visited Boulder for brief periods during Jim's time there.


November 1999

Faculty Board receives an extensive report on APSC 100.


December 1999

The Canadian Academy of Engineering publishes a report on engineering education which makes a number of recommendations which are in accord with the ILC concept.


January 2000

Derek Cooper, Ken Roth and Jim McCowan began a series of visits to discuss with Heads and others what each department might like to move to the ILC from that building. The first three buildings visited were McLaughlin (Tom Moore), Ellis (Mark Green and Lloyd Rhymer) and Dupuis (Ron Neufeld, Steve Hodgson and Marg Burns).


February 2000

Superbuild awards 10.8 million dollars for ILC construction.


Advisory Council meeting was devoted to discussion of ILC.


'Open House' organized to show prototype benches. There were also poster and web references to 'live building' possibilities and other opportunities. The event was intended to promote discussion about the new techniques that could be utilized in the ILC. Feedback was sought from Advisory Council members, faculty, technical staff, and students. About 60 to 70 people attended.


Letter written to Mechanical Engineering asking for confirmation of 'what moves and what does not'.


March 2000

Class of 2000 directs their ThankQ award to developing the student lounge area in the Integrated Learning Centre.


People with an interest in environmental aspects of the ILC were assembled in a series of meetings. In addition to almost twenty members of Applied Science, input was gathered from the energy group at Natural Resources Canada, SURP, Environmental Studies, GIS, Analytical Services, and Health and Safety. A series of meetings will be held to develop all environmental aspects.


April 2000

Status report from Jim McCowan to Tom Harris dated April 7.


May 2000

Second Student Summer Project Office created, with ten students. Large commitments included developing APSC 100 modules and ILC web page development.


June 2000

McConnell Foundation awards 1.8 million dollars for Integrated Learning curriculum development. This award greatly enhanced the speed and scope of program development.


August 2000

Several awards given from McConnell funds for curriculum development in the Fall Term 2000 and/or the Winter Term 2001.


Executive Committee of ILC meets for the first time.


October 2000

DuPont Canada announces contribution of 2.5 million dollars for a Chair in Engineering Education Research and Development.


September 2000

Liz Green appointed as Administrative Assistant for ILC.


November 2000

ECS visit all Departments to gather views on ILC and on space needs of their own Departments.


January 2001

ECS and Derek Cooper visit all Departments to discuss draft ECS report.


ECS submit their report.


Tom Moore becomes Associate Dean (Academic) and Jim McCowan assumes role of Associate Dean (Integrated Learning) with a mandate to continue development of the new program, approaches, and facilities.


Systems Development Engineer (Anton Driesse) hired to develop and test the major computer systems required in the ILC.


February 2001

Ken Roth completed the Charge to the Architect, incorporating the ECS report.


March 2001

James Avery and Melinda Piket-May visit from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Colorado. They interacted with IDC and with several different groups working on aspects of the ILC. Jim was Technical Director of ITLL at Boulder and is now Associate Dean. Melinda is a faculty member in Electrical Engineering with significant awards for both research and teaching.


May 2001

Bregman and Hamann appointed by Board as architects for the Integrated Learning Centre.


June 2001

George Sweetman assumes role of Director of the Integrated Learning Centre.


May 2002

Excavation begins.


Summer 2002

Considerable redesign required to deal with bids higher than budget.


September 2002

Construction begins.


October 2002

Jim Avery, Caroline Baillie, Denis Proulx and David Strong visit Queen's for a week of talks on various educational issues.


January 2003

Bria Hunter, Jim Mason, Jim McCowan, Tom Moore and George Sweetman spend three full days at Aalborg University in discussions with Anette Kolmos, Flemming Fink, and several others, and then a day at Herstmonceux discussing APSC 190 with Caroline Baillie.


March 2003

David Strong starts as NSERC Chair in Design Engineering


May 2003

Caroline Baillie starts as DuPont Chair in Engineering Education.


October 2003 to May 2004

The October 15, 2003 delivery date in the contract was not met. A new date was set for January 1, 2004, to be replaced by February 15, and then April 1. ILC staff moved in May 1, but with boots and hard hats. Occupancy permit received May 5. Building officially opened on May 5 and 6, but far from complete.


June 2004

Engineering Society moves in.


July 2004

Engenuity, Science Quest and Shad Valley are first users. Dean's Office moves in mid-month.