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A Plan to Diffuse Mobile Hands-On Teaching and Learning in Puerto Rico

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.83.1 - 26.83.7



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Paper Authors


Juan C Morales Universidad del Turabo

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Dr. Juan C. Morales, P.E., joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at Universidad del Turabo (UT), Gurabo, Puerto Rico, in 1995 and currently holds the rank of professor. Dr. Morales was the ABET Coordinator of the School of Engineering for the initial ABET-EAC accreditation of all four accredited programs at UT. He has been Department Head of Mechanical Engineering since 2003. His efforts to diffuse innovative teaching and learning practices derive directly from the outcomes assessment plan that he helped devise and implement as ABET Coordinator.

Address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universidad del Turabo, PO Box 3030, Gurabo, Puerto Rico, 00778.

Tel. 787-743-7979 x 4182


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Yacob Astatke Morgan State University


Kenneth A Connor Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Kenneth Connor is a professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE) where he teaches courses on electromagnetics, electronics and instrumentation, plasma physics, electric power, and general engineering. His research involves plasma physics, electromagnetics, photonics, biomedical sensors, engineering education, diversity in the engineering workforce, and technology enhanced learning. He learned problem solving from his father (ran a gray iron foundry), his mother (a nurse) and grandparents (dairy farmers). He has had the great good fortune to always work with amazing people, most recently professors teaching circuits and electronics from 13 HBCU ECE programs and the faculty, staff and students of the SMART LIGHTING ERC, where he is Education Director. He was ECSE Department Head from 2001 to 2008 and served on the board of the ECE Department Heads Association from 2003 to 2008.

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University


Idalides Vergara-Laurens Universidad del Turabo

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Idalides Vergara-Laurens is an Assistant Professor at the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. He received a B.S degree in Computer System Engineering from Universidad Industrial de Santander in 2000, and a M.S. degree in Computer Engineering from University of Puerto Rico at Mayagez. In 2014, he received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering at University of South Florida, FL, USA. His research interests include crowd sensing, security, privacy and green networking.

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Mary Cristina Ruales Ortega Universidad del Turabo

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Dr. Mary Cristina Ruales Ortega currently works as an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico. Dr. Ruales received a BSME from Universidad del Valle in Colombia, a MSME from University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. from Florida International University in 2007.

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A Plan to Diffuse Hands-On Teaching and Learning in Puerto RicoAbstractDecades of engineering education research have resulted in excellent progress, innovation andunderstanding of the teaching and learning process; however, diffusion of these developmentsinto the engineering classroom is a challenge that has yet to be resolved at a systemic level. As aresult, the majority of the engineering faculty in Puerto Rico and the USA still use the traditionalmodel of teaching and learning that is based on the simple transfer of knowledge from teacher tostudent. Many of the educational innovations that have been researched are founded onconstructivist methodologies. These are based on the widely accepted principle that studentsconstruct their own versions of reality rather than simply absorbing versions presented by theirteachers. Constructivist methodologies provide students with the opportunity to explore newconcepts; it recognizes that conflicts will emerge between the new material and the priorexperience that each student brings into the classroom; and assistance is provided to helpstudents overcome these conflicts to help them succeed in creating the new knowledge.Knowledge transfer from the teacher to the student (traditional method) can be very effective ifthe instructor times it correctly to resolve these conflicts. This paper discusses the plans to begina systemic spread of constructivist methodologies in all the engineering schools in Puerto Rico.This initial effort specifically addresses courses in electrical circuits and electronicinstrumentation. The Analog Discovery Board, essentially a circuits laboratory that fits in thepalm of one’s hand, will be used as the medium to explore the course concepts. The primarymeans for diffusion will consist of two NSF-funded faculty workshops in Puerto Rico designedand led by two of the authors who have ample experience with the device and with thesemethodologies, including its successful application in distance learning. NSF has providedfunding for two years, from October 2014 to September 2016, to allow the researchers to obtaininitial data on diffusion rates and to perform additional assessment to determine effectivenessand the satisfaction level of faculty and students.

Morales, J. C., & Astatke, Y., & Connor, K. A., & Prince, M. J., & Vergara-Laurens, I., & Ruales Ortega, M. C. (2015, June), A Plan to Diffuse Mobile Hands-On Teaching and Learning in Puerto Rico Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23424

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