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ENGR 131: Transforming Ideas to Innovation I

Spring 2018 Syllabus

Course Description

In ENGR 131, you will develop solutions to engineering design and modeling challenges and explore engineering careers.  As you develop these solutions, you will practice making evidence-based engineering decisions on diverse teams, guided by professional habits.

Course Goals

The table below outlines the goals related to the four key course topics.



Career Exploration Examine and analyze information from various engineering schools at Purdue to make informed decisions about your choice of an engineering major.


Develop and evaluate mathematical models to describe or predict outcomes associated with engineering decisions.


Use a systematic design process to develop innovative solutions to engineering challenges, compare design alternatives, and gather and use evidence for decision making.

Professional Habits

Develop professional habits including professional communication, teamwork, and information literacy that will benefit you both as a student at Purdue and as a practicing engineer.

Course Learning Objectives

At the end of this class, you will be able to:

  1. Communicate engineering concepts, ideas and decisions effectively and professionally in diverse ways such as written, visual, and oral.
  2. Seek, find, use, and document appropriate and trustworthy information resources.
  3. Scope problems and use diverse methods and multiple forms of evidence to build empathy with users and stakeholders broadly.
  4. Use accurate scientific, mathematical, and technical evidence in statements and work products.
  5. Engage in systematic, informed, evidence-based decision-making with considerations of data and facts as well as social and ethical factors.
  6. Appropriately use data analysis tools to analyze data to make claims about the data.
  7. Generate ideas fluently.  Take risks when necessary.
  8. Reflect on the process and assumptions and engage in troubleshooting and iteration.
  9. Contribute effectively to team products and discussions.

Course Format and Activities

You will attend two 110-minute class sessions each week. Check your course schedule for days, times, and locations of your class session.

Note: ENGR 131 sections meet in two different rooms each week (ARMS B061 and ARMS B098). Check your schedule for the room assignments.

ENGR 131 follows the model of a flipped classroom. Before class, you will watch custom-developed online modules (videos) related to course topics. In class, you will work on activities in teams or pairs related to the day’s topics. In essence, what is traditionally considered as homework are initiated during class.  What it traditionally called lectures are delivered in the form of online modules.

See the course schedule in Blackboard for details on meeting days and time and topics for each class session. 


You will use Blackboard, Purdue’s course management system, to access course materials for ENGR 131. To learn more about Blackboard for ENGR 131, complete the activity Familiarize Yourself with Blackboard, available in the Week 01 area in Blackboard.

Preferred browser: Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) recommends Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox when accessing Blackboard. If you are using another browser or a mobile device, you may be unable to access some Blackboard content.


  • Your “course schedule” in Blackboard details meeting days, times, and topics for each class session.
  • All times listed in Blackboard, such as assignment due times, are West Lafayette times. 

Required Materials

No textbook is required.  All required readings, modules, assignments, etc. will be posted on Blackboard.

Note: Each classroom has laptop computers available. If possible, bring your own laptop with you to class.  


You will be assigned to a team in this course and will complete many assignments and activities with your team. Past ENGR 131 students have found their teaming experience in this course to be worthwhile and rewarding.

Instructional Team

In Blackboard, click Course Contacts in the left-hand navigation for names and contact information for your section’s instructor and graduate teaching assistant (GTA).  Additionally, there will be undergraduate peer teachers in the classroom.  Additional questions may be answered by visiting the First Year Engineering Operations Center located in ARMS B122.

Office Hours

ENGR 131 office hours are held several days per week, depending on enrollment.  Attendance at office hours is an opportunity to have specific questions answered by a graduate teaching assistant.  See Blackboard for scheduled times and locations.

Communication with the Teaching Team

When communicating with members of your ENGR 131 teaching team, you must use your Purdue email address. Members of the teaching team may not respond to emails from non-Purdue email addresses. Allow at least 24 hours for emails to be answered.


Classroom Policies
  1. No food is allowed in the classrooms.
  2. Drinks are allowed, but they must have secure lids.
  3. Laptop computers are provided for your use during class time, but may be used only for work related to ENGR 131.

Academic Integrity

You are a member of the Purdue community—a community that values integrity. You are expected to be familiar with and to abide by the following university policies and procedures:

You are also expected to fulfill Purdue’s newly-adopted, student-created honor pledge: As a Boilermaker pursuing academic excellence, I pledge to be honest and true in all that I do.  Accountable together – We are Purdue.
Academic dishonesty is defined by Purdue as “cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University.” Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Looking at another student’s paper during a test
  • Submitting homework obtained from another student
  • Allowing someone else to do the work and then submitting it under your own name
  • Helping someone else commit academic dishonesty, such as giving them homework to copy or allowing them to cheat from your test paper
  • Copying word for word or lifting phrases or special terms from a source or reference without proper attribution (plagiarism)
  • Allowing someone else to access your Purdue computer accounts or computer files

Academic integrity is one of the highest values that Purdue University holds. Individuals are encouraged to alert university officials to potential breeches of this value by either emailing or by calling 765-494-8778.  While information may be submitted anonymously, the more information that is submitted provides the greatest opportunity for the university to investigate the concern.

In ENGR 131, you will submit both individual and team assignments. While team assignments are understood to be the work of a team, individual assignments you submit must be your own work.

If academic dishonesty occurs, consequences may include:

  • A zero on the entire assignment or exam in question.
  • Forwarding your name to the Office of the Dean of Students.
  • Lowered or failing grade in the course. 


Grades are assigned according to the information in the table below. Note that to move on to ENGR 132, your final grade in ENGR 131 must be a C- or better.




94% and above

A- Greater than or equal to 90.0% and less than 94.0%
B+ Greater than or equal to 87.0% and less than 90.0%


Greater than or equal to 84.0% and less than 87.0%

B- Greater than or equal to 80.0% and less than 84.0%
C+ Greater than or equal to 77.0% and less than 80.0%


Greater than or equal to 74.0% and less than 77.0%

C- Greater than or equal to 70.0% and less than 74.0%


Greater than or equal to 60.0% and less than 70.0%


Below 60%


Points are distributed into eight categories. The approximate percentage of the total of each is as shown in the table below. See the Assignments and My Grades areas in Blackboard for additional information. 


Approximate Percent of Total Grade



Data Analysis/Design Project 1


Team Activity 1 & 2




Module quizzes


Professional expectations (PE) assignments


Professional Expectations

In ENGR 131, we expect you to begin to learn and practice the professional habits of a practicing engineer. To encourage these professional habits, your instructor may choose to deduct points for certain behaviors as follows.  Note: Your instructor may add additional items to this list

  • −5 points for breaking/disregarding classroom policies
  • −5 points for sleeping in class
  • −5 points for using a computer for non-class purposes
  • −5 points for leaving early
  • Up to −25 points for observed disruptive behavior to team dynamics/performance

Concerns About Grading

If you have concerns about how an assignment was graded, send an email to your graduate teaching assistant (GTA) with a detailed description of the concern within seven days after the graded assignment was revealed in Blackboard. Your email must include your name, ENGR 131 section number, team number, the assignment name, and a clear, detailed description of your concern about the grading.


It is important for you to attend, and to be on time for, each meeting of ENGR 131 because in-class time is important to ensuring full contributions to team assignments. Teams that use their in-class time effectively minimize their out-of-class time.  Attendance is taken every class, and absences and tardies are recorded. 
We know that you may occasionally need to be late or to miss a full class. You are allowed up to three total absences that can be taken for any reason, without penalty, and will be the sum of tardies and absences.
The teaching team will take attendance immediately after class starts. You will be marked present if you are in your seat and absent if you are not. If you arrive late, you are responsible for quietly checking in with the teaching team to request that your absence be changed to a tardy.



Attendance Record


Seated with team at start of class

0.0 absence


Arrived late, tardy approved by the designated teaching team member

0.5 absence


Did not attend class or tardy was not approved

1.0 absence

After you accumulate 3.0 total absences, you will start to incur an absence penalty with each additional tardy and/or absence.  The penalty is -25 points for every 0.5 absence over the allowed 3.0 absences.

Example: A student has three tardies and two absences, and so has 3.5 total absences. This student will receive a -25 point deduction off their total grade. 

Example: A student has zero tardies and five absences, and so has 5.0 total absences. This student will receive a -100 point deduction off their total grade (this is equivalent to losing a full letter grade).

Use your three allowed absences wisely. If you know you have a commitment that will require you to miss class, then plan accordingly so you do not exceed three absences during the semester.

Please see your instructor if you have an exceptional situation that requires you to exceed three total absences, such as a severe or prolonged illness, medical or family emergency, sports or university commitment, or an approved grief absence from the Office of the Dean of Students. (

Notify your team members if you will be tardy/absent for any reason, planned or unplanned, because class time routinely requires teamwork to complete tasks and assignments.

Late work

Late work is accepted only when you have an approved grief absence or an exceptional situation as described above. In one of these situations, arrange submission of your late work with your graduate teaching assistant (GTA).

Note: Because you will often spend class time working with your team and many assignments are team assignments, notify your team members if you will be absent for any reason, planned or unplanned.

Dress Code             

Personal hygiene and proper attire are important. Out of respect for yourself and your classmates, please come to class clean and free of odors and dress in a way that is appropriate for all class activities and respectful, non-distracting, and non-offensive to others.


In this course, each voice in the classroom has something of value to contribute. Please take care to respect the different experiences, beliefs and values expressed by students and staff involved in this course. We support Purdue's commitment to diversity, and welcome individuals of all ages, backgrounds, citizenships, disability, sex, education, ethnicities, family statuses, genders, gender identities, geographical locations, languages, military experience, political views, races, religions, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, and work experiences.

For additional information about diversity and nondiscrimination at Purdue, visit the following websites:

·       Purdue nondiscrimination policy statement

·       Purdue Division of Diversity & Inclusion

Purdue Policies   

You are expected to comply with all relevant policies on the University Policies website. 

Changing Sections

You may change your ENGR 131 section until the last day on which you are permitted to add a course via MyPurdue, which is the first day of class during the second week of the semester.  No changes are allowed after this date. Note that once you drop a section, there is no guarantee that space will be available in another section. See an FYE advisor in ARMS 1300 for additional information. 

Students with Disabilities

If you are eligible for academic accommodations because you have a documented disability that will affect your work in this class and/or at an exam, please schedule an appointment with your instructor or see a member of the instructional support team in ARMS B122 as soon as possible to discuss your needs. At these meetings, bring your “Letter of Accommodation” that you obtained from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) so that your instructor and the IST can make proper accommodations for you.

Reseources for Mental Health

Purdue University is committed to advancing the mental health and well-being of its students.  If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or in need of support, services are available. For help, such individuals should contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (765)494-6995 and Purdue Counseling & Psychological Services during and after hours, on weekends and holidays, or through its counselors physically located in the Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH) during business hours.

Purdue Emergency Response Procedures                      

Purdue University has an Integrated Emergency Management Plan (IEMP). This plan includes procedures, processes, and plans for responding to an emergency. Visit the Emergency Preparedness website for more information.

ENGR 131 Classroom Emergency Response

Emergency: For any emergency, call 911 (fire, medical emergency, etc.).

  • ARMS B061: Phone is in the corner of the room by the podium.
  • ARMS B098: Phone is in the hallway by the printer.

Fire Alarm or Evacuation: Gather all critical personal belongings and exit the building using the stairs. Do not use the elevator.

  • ARMS B061: Proceed up the stairs by Amelia's Cafe.
  • ARMS B098: Proceed up the stairs by B122 (away from Amelia’s).

Meet in the emergency assembly area in the grass between Civil Engineering and the Johnson Hall of Nursing.

Shelter in Place: Could occur due to tornado, accidental release of toxic chemicals, shots fired on campus, etc.

  • Tornado: Stay in the classroom. In B098, move away from any glass and sit on the floor.
  • Other situations: The course of action will depend upon the situation; FYE has an extensive emergency plan that will be put into action. 
  • Recommendation: Remain in the classroom and wait for further instructions.

Note: In any situation, follow instructions from emergency response personnel (police, fire department, etc.) when they are present

In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances beyond the instructor’s control. Information about any changes will be available in Blackboard.