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A New Approach to Equip Students to Solve 21st-Century Global Challenges: Integrated Problem-Based Mechanical Engineering Laboratory

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Thermal Fluid Related

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36597

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36597

Download Count

35

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Paper Authors

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Siu Ling Leung Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Siu Ling Leung is an Assistant Teaching Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Laboratories of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Pennsylvania State University. She is developing a new engineering laboratory curriculum to empower students' cognition skills and equipped them to solve real-world challenges. Her past engineering education experience includes undergraduate curriculum management, student advising, and monitoring department-level ABET assessment. Her current research interest focus on creating new learning tools to enhance student engagement.

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Eric Marsh Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Eric Marsh is the Arthur L. Glenn Professor of Engineering Education and Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs. He has worked with departmental colleagues to introduce several new required courses in the mechanical engineering program. He is an ABET program evaluator and leads the ME accreditation effort at Penn State.

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Stephen Lynch Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Stephen Lynch is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and the director of the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory at Penn State. He received his BSME from the University of Wyoming, and his MS and PhD from Virginia Tech.

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H. J. Sommer III Pennsylvania State University

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Joe Sommer joined Penn State in 1980 following completion of his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and has served as Interim Head of the Department and as Graduate Coordinator. He was a founder of ECSEL, one of the original NSF Engineering Educational Coalitions. His research interests include mechatronics, three-dimensional kinematics, biomechanics and vehicle dynamics with recent projects ranging from multibody dynamics, to locomotion in microgravity, to tractor overturn, to unmanned air vehicles (UAV). He is a member of ASB and ISB and is Fellow of ASME.

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Sean N. Brennan Pennsylvania State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9844-6948

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Dr.Sean Brennan is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering since graduating with his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002. He is the director of the Intelligent Vehicles and Systems Group, and his research focuses on vehicle dynamics and automation, ground robotics, and map-based sensing algorithms and data-fusion.

Our paper is assigned to the ME Division, titled “A New Approach to Equip Students to Solve 21st-Century Global Challenges: Integrated Problem-Based Mechanical Engineering Laboratory.”

Thank you so much! Please let us know if additional information is needed.

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Tak-Sing Wong The Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Tak-Sing Wong is currently an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the holder of Wormley Family Early Career Professorship at Penn State. His current research focuses on bio-inspired materials design with applications in water, energy, medicine, and environmental sustainability. For his research contributions, Dr. Wong was named one of the world’s top 35 innovators under the age of 35 by the MIT Technology Review, and honored by the White House for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

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Brian M. Foley The Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Brian M. Foley is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and member of the Materials Research Institute at the Pennsylvania State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia. His laboratory specializes in the application and development of advanced opto-thermal characterization techniques for probing nanoscale thermal phenomena in novel material systems and electronic device architectures.

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Jean-Michel Mongeau Pennsylvania State University

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Jean-Michel Mongeau is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University. He directs the Bio-Motion Systems lab which studies the neuro-mechanics and control of aerial and terrestrial locomotion in animals and machines. Dr. Mongeau received a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Biophysics and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. He is the recipient of the AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) award and is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience.

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Daniel H. Cortes Penn State University

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Dr. Cortes is a mechanical engineer whose research is focused on the diagnosis of injuries and diseases in orthopedic tissues. He completed his Ph.D. studies at West Virginia University; then, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the school of medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and the department of biomedical engineering at the University of Delaware. He is currently an assistant professor in the department of mechanical engineering at the Pennsylvania State University.

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Karen A. Thole Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Karen A. Thole is a Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. She holds two degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. As the Department head, her administrative and educational efforts have focused on significantly growing the faculty, diversifying the faculty and students, and emphasizing interdisciplinary research. Dr. Thole has been recognized for her efforts in mechanical engineering education and diversity as a U.S. White House Champion of Change, and by ASME’s Edwin F. Church Medal, ABET’s Claire L. Felbinger Diversity Award, and SWE’s Distinguished Engineering Educator Award. She has also been recognized for her faculty mentoring efforts through Penn State’s Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award and Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award.

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Abstract

This Work-in-Process paper summarizes our current effort to re-design our ME curriculum to adjust the issue of lacking critical thinking practice in traditional laboratory courses. Five 1-credit topic-based laboratory courses are consolidated into a single 3-credit problem-based laboratory course. This new course aims to improve student cognitive skills and prepare them to plan and conduct investigations on complex system-level problems. Students will revise engineering principles through solving 21st-century engineering problems surrounded the topics, Sustainability, Big Data, Advanced Manufacturing, Autonomy and Robotics, and Energy. The engineering principles being focused in this course are Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, Materials, and Chemistry, five-core fundamental ME knowledge identified by our faculty and Industrial and Professional Advisory Council (IPAC) members.

To gradually enhance students' higher-order thinking, this course is structured in multiple levels, follows the six levels of Bloom's taxonomy, Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create. In each level, a real-world engineering problem will be used to initiate thinking, connect multi-week hands-on activities, and facilitate group discussion. Students apply prior knowledge from ME core curriculum courses to solve the problem, at the same time, utilize essential practical skills for the future workplace. Skills included Data Analysis, Data Acquisition, Critical Thinking, Numerical Simulation, Problem Solving, and Design of Experiment.

In this work, we summarize a total of nine multiple-weeks lab activities, which designed to prepare students to work in both thermal and mechanical systems. Here we include three examples,

1. Apply statistics knowledge to solve the problem - How can smartwatch measure and classify our activity? Students have to remember statistics knowledge in junior-level courses, identify and select the proper method and equation to analyze the data, then apply them to extract valuable information. 2. Analyze dependent parameters in heat transfer to solve the problem - What are the best heating strategies for Lithium-ion batteries in cold weather? Students will apply heat transfer knowledge, e.g., conduction, convection, and insulation, to perform numerical simulations and hands-on experiments to study the effect of parametric variation in heat transfer rate. 3. Create and design control logic to solve the problem - How to drive an autonomous vehicle along a planned route? Students will apply basic kinematic, control, and mechatronics knowledge to program ground robotics to perform different tasks in an autonomous vehicle town.

Lastly, following the new ABET student outcome (3), an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences, students will practice preparing different written and oral deliverables for a variety of audiences in this course. Students' submissions will alternate between homework, tradition project report, email, presentation, and video journal. Each format will explore the communication styles necessary to reach specific audiences, e.g., peers, coworkers, supervisors, and the general public. We anticipate this new course will be pilot in FA 2021 after the new lab space construction is going to be completed in SP 2021.

Leung, S. L., & Marsh, E., & Lynch, S., & Sommer, H. J., & Brennan, S. N., & Wong, T., & Foley, B. M., & Mongeau, J., & Cortes, D. H., & Thole, K. A. (2021, July), A New Approach to Equip Students to Solve 21st-Century Global Challenges: Integrated Problem-Based Mechanical Engineering Laboratory Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36597

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