June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.43.1 - 26.43.9
A Framework for Integrating Research Grade Simulation Tools into Engineering Lessons Simulations developed for research purposes are migrating into classroom use wherethere is great potential for meaningful integration. For example, nanoHUB (www.nanoHUB.org)is an online mechanism for creating and sharing models and simulations among researchers, withmore than 350 simulation tools contributed by researchers around the world. Previous researchhas found research grade simulation tools created on nanoHUB.org have potential to enhancestudent understanding of difficult concepts, such as material behavior at the atomic level. While nanoHUB simulations are readily available for instructors to use in their courses,maximum student learning through the use of simulations can only realized through carefulalignment of student learning needs and the value added by inserting simulation use into acourse. Traditionally, curriculum activities are designed to meet course objectives. In otherwords, the curriculum is developed specific to the learning need. However, in the case ofresearch-grade simulations, developed tools are adopted for a purpose (learning) other than whatthey were originally designed for (research). The approach instructors take to integratesimulations will have a direct impact on what students learn from the simulation activity.Therefore, we extend practices in curriculum development to propose an integration method thatwill assist faculty in effectively incorporating research-grade simulations into their existingcourses. Our method includes the following steps: (1) identifying key learning goals, (2)developing specific learning objectives, (3) selecting simulation tool(s) based on learning goals,(4) mapping simulation activities to learning objectives, and (5) assessing student learning.Through the process, a clear alignment is made as to the value added by the simulation and whatstudents learn. In this paper, we will describe our method of integration through an example of how ananoHUB simulation tool supports learning of materials concepts in a sophomore materialsscience engineering course.
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