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A Significant Learning Approach for Materials Education

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 1

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Paper Authors


Sayyad Zahid Qamar P.E. Sultan Qaboos University

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Dr Zahid Qamar, Sayyad is currently associated with the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Muscat, Oman. He has over 20 years of academic and research experience in different international universities. He has also worked as a professional mechanical engineer in the field for over 6 years in the heavy engineering and fabrication industry (Manager Research and Development; Deputy Manager Design; Production Engineer; Quality Control Engineer). On top of his experience as a researcher/academician, he has been actively involved in research and accreditation work related to engineering education. His technical research areas are Applied materials and manufacturing; Applied mechanics and design; Reliability engineering; and Engineering education. As part of the Applied Mechanics and Advanced Materials Research group (AM2R) at SQU, he has been involved in different applied research funded projects in excess of 4 million dollars. He has around 200 research/technical publications to his credit (2 research monographs/books, 2 edited book volumes, 5 book chapters, 145 publications in refereed international journals and conferences, and 32 technical reports). He is currently editing one volume (Renewability of Synthetic Materials) for the Elsevier Encyclopedia of Renewable and Sustainable Materials. He has served as Associate editor, Guest editor, and Member editorial board for different research journals (including Materials and Manufacturing Processes, Journal of Elastomers and Plastics, the Journal of Engineering Research, American Journal of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering).

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Majid Al-Maharbi Sultan Qaboos University

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An associate professor at department of mechanical and industrial engineering at Sultan Qaboos University. Recieved Bachelor in mechanical engineering from Sultan Qaboos University, master degree in materials science feom Arizona State University in 2003 and PhD im Materials Science and Engineering from Texas A&M in 2009. Working on metallurgy, severe plasric deformation, mechanical behaviors of metallic materials and corrrosion engineering.

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Josiah Cherian Chekotu Dublin City University Orcid 16x16

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M.Sc. graduate in Applied Materials, Mechanics and Design from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman. Currently, PhD researcher in Advanced Metallic Systems Centre for Doctoral Training (I-Form research centre) at Dublin City University in Ireland.

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Higher education, especially in the engineering milieu, is a complex activity. Many different tasks need to be performed well to achieve high quality student learning. Significant learning experiences require specific (and optimal) course design, and inculcation of relevant skills. The more common approach for course design is the ‘content-centered’ one. A list of topics is decided (using well-established textbook/s), together with time slots and a testing scheme (number of quizzes, tests, etc). Though relatively easy, this methodology pays scant attention to student learning outside of content knowledge. The more time and effort intensive ‘learning-centered’ approach is more systematic and rewarding. Course design is based on deciding what students can optimally learn in a certain subject, and how to best facilitate this learning. Fink’s model of “significant learning” or “integrated course design” has three major components: identification of important situational factors; use of these factors to make key decisions about learning goals, feedback and assessment, and teaching/learning activities; and making sure that these crucial components are well integrated and supplement and strengthen each other.

This work-in-progress paper presents a strategy to use Fink’s significant learning approach in materials science and engineering courses in an undergraduate engineering program. Examples and activities are taken from two core courses of the Mechanical engineering program at Sultan Qaboos University (Materials science, and Engineering materials). Learning outcomes, learning assessments, and learning activities are described for various levels and domains: foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, caring, and learning how to learn. This methodology, targeting significant learning experiences, can also be applied to other engineering and science (and even non-science) courses.

Qamar, S. Z., & Al-Maharbi, M., & Chekotu, J. C. (2020, June), A Significant Learning Approach for Materials Education Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34048

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