Bilkent University
Faculty of Engineering
Academic Student Coordination Unit


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Contributions by ASCU



ASCU Presentation at SEFI 2005 Ankara, Turkiye

Coaching Engineering Freshmen at Bilkent University

B. Keyik «elik1, B. Uslu ÷zdemir2, J.M. Verhoeven3



In September 2003, the Faculty of Engineering at Bilkent University created an office to help first year students adapt to university life and start their academic studies effectively. For each of the three Departments of the Faculty, an Ďacademic student coordinatorí offers personal coaching and consulting services for each individual student; the coordinator follows the progress of the students and contacts and advises them if necessary. The office offers an Engineering Orientation course that covers time management, study skills, problem solving and critical thinking. Besides this, the office offers tutorial sessions for physics courses, and organizes social activities.

Keywords:  coaching, consulting, freshman, skills


ASCU Presentation at SEFI 2006 Uppsala, Sweden


An orientation course for freshmen in engineering

B. Keyik «elik1, B. Uslu ÷zdemir2, J.M. Verhoeven3



To realize our mission as Academic Student Coordinators for engineering freshmen at Bilkent University, we offer an orientation course. This one credit required course can be seen as a tool to meet all students regularly and in a natural way, to get to know each other, to create an atmosphere which makes it easy for the students to contact us when they are confronted with serious problems.

Along with these underlying objectives, the course aims to facilitate a smooth transition from high school to university by giving attention to general skills, study skills and communication skills. Workshops are offered on such issues as engineering in general, goal setting, time management, learning styles, test taking, stress management, critical thinking, strategies for effective and creative problem solving, and ethics. Attention is also given to practical issues such as various centers for academic and social support at Bilkent University and to campus and academic issues such as exam regulations and studentsí rights and responsibilities. 

The course has four graded elements: orientation days, seminars, class participation and the final exam. The orientation days cover a general orientation program at the very beginning of the semester. The seminars during the semester are offered by inspiring professionals, people successful in business, industry, the academic world or elsewhere. Class participation, the main element of the course, aims at having the students actively involved in in-class assignments working in groups of about 15 students. For the final exam the students write two essays: one about some campus oriented events in which they have participated; and another essay in which they write, in a clear given format, a reflection about themselves, evaluating their first semester at the Faculty of Engineering of Bilkent University. 

Throughout the semester the students are stimulated to be assertive, to be critical about themselves and about their environment, to think in terms of projects and problem based learning, to work both in small groups and alone. As the students write many different things, they have a personal portfolio at the end of the semester. 

All things considered, the course turns out to be an effective tool for our mission of coaching freshmen in engineering. 

Keywords: orientation course, freshmen, active student participation, general skills

ASCU Presentation at SEFI 2008 Aalborg, Denmark


Tutorial services for students at Bilkent University  

An evaluation after five years

  B. Keyik «elik1, B. Uslu ÷zdemir2, John M. Verhoeven3


To realize our mission as academic coordinators for engineering students at Bilkent University , we facilitate in different ways tutorial services. These focus on the first year courses for physics, mathematics and computer science, which are courses that turn out to be difficult, as studentsí comments and grades often show.

Most tutorial services are realized in cooperation with the Departments. Senior undergraduate students or graduate students are hired to work as laboratory assistants or as homework graders, or to offer recitation classes. During these classes questions are answered, difficult issues are explained, while many exercises are done to gain the necessary routine for applying the theory. Such classes can form together with theory classes and laboratory sessions a consistent unity of different working forms.

Besides these services, which are scheduled regularly and for which participation often is included in the grading, we coordinate tutorials on demand, for students asking for them.

Another idea behind the tutorial services is that they give the possibility for advanced students to practice their teaching and communication skills. We organize application procedures, hire the students accepted for the job, follow their work with duty reports to be submitted by them, try to coach them in different ways. By participating in workshops, where special attention is given to strategies for active learning, tutors can work for a teaching certificate. After they finished their job satisfactorily, tutors may ask for a Ďthank you letterí, as a useful academic reference.

Everything considered, although the infrastructure for the tutorial services is quite challenging, they form a useful tool for our mission as student coordinators.  


Keywords: tutorial services, freshmen, job for advanced students, active learning

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