Purdue's College of Technology at South Bend, which has offered degree programs in South Bend since the 1980s, is one of three pilot sites this fall for the Purdue Polytechnic Initiative. The Purdue Polytechnic is designed to provide students competency-based, interdisciplinary instruction. The other pilot sites are at New Albany, Indiana, and at the main campus in West Lafayette, Ind.
The South Bend pilot involves about 30 full-time freshmen who are studying for bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology or engineering technology.
In the past, those students would have been enrolled primarily in separate classes based on their majors, and most of the classes would have been traditional, lecture-style courses. Under the pilot, students in the three majors take classes together. And the lecture-style courses have been replaced with hands-on projects guided by professors. Many of the projects involve robotics, 3D printing, manufacturing processes and other skills. Students earn competency badges based on their ability to meet learning objectives.
"The goal is to learn skills that employees need in the workplace," said Michael Sanders, director of Purdue's South Bend program.
(Photo courtesy of South Bend Tribune)