Skip to main content
Work-in-progress – Dealing with “Formulaholic” – The formulae syndrome of the new generation engineering students.
First Year Engineering Experience (FYEE) Conference (2016)
  • Ben Oni, Tuskegee University
  • Vimal Viswanathan, Tuskegee University
  • David Baah, Tuskegee University
A fundamental skill set in the practice of the engineering profession is critical thinking skill. Over the years, peculiarities of generations of engineering students have become distinctively noticeable. The new generations of students enrolling in engineering programs have increasingly demonstrated unusual dependency on formulae for solving analytical problems. The dependency has reached the proportion to qualify for classification as addiction - labeled as “formulaholic” and defined as “the compulsive dependency on formulae to solve analytical problems to the subdual of critical thinking skills.” Impact of subdual of critical thinking skills also manifests in students’ reduced metacognition abilities. A new growing challenge in engineering education is to change the freshman’s mindset from formulae dependency to critical thinking. The principal project that included this issue implemented a peer group tutorial program with strong emphases on social integration. A pilot study between a test group and control group respectively, showed that participants in the peer tutorial program performed much better in the common Math course that both groups took. The work presented in this paper is a follow-up on the participants to assess the extent to which participation in the peer group tutorial has moderated their initial formulae dependent mindset. Survey results show that by learning to develop their critical thinking skills, the students gained higher confidence in their abilities as well as performed better in their courses. 
  • Peer Group Tutorial,
  • “formulaholic”,
  • Peer learning,
  • Critical thinking skills
Publication Date
Columbus, Ohio
Citation Information
Ben Oni, Vimal Viswanathan and David Baah. "Work-in-progress – Dealing with “Formulaholic” – The formulae syndrome of the new generation engineering students." First Year Engineering Experience (FYEE) Conference (2016)
Available at: