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A Three-course Laboratory Sequence in Mechanical Engineering as a Framework for Writing in the Discipline

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: The Art of Education

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34077

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/34077

Download Count

20

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Paper Authors

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Maria-Isabel Carnasciali University of New Haven Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5887-0744

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Maria-Isabel Carnasciali is Chair of the Engineering and Applied Science Education Department at the Tagliatela College of Engineering, University of New Haven, CT. She is also an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. She obtained her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. She received her Bachelors of Engineering from MIT. Her research focuses on the nontraditional engineering student – understanding their motivations, identity development, and impact of prior engineering-related experiences. Her work dwells into learning in informal settings such as summer camps, military experiences, and extra-curricular activities. Other research interests involve validation of CFD models for aerospace and industrial applications, as well as optimizing efficiency of thermal-fluid systems.

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Eric A. Dieckman University of New Haven

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Dr. Dieckman is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of New Haven, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in acoustics, vibration, instrumentation, and Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE). His current research focus is on the intersection of high-performance numerical simulations of wave propagation and scattering, time-frequency wavelet signal processing, and machine learning approaches to find useful information hidden inside complex radio frequency (RF) and acoustic signals.

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Ismail I Orabi University of New Haven

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Professor Orabi received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cairo Institute of Technology (now Helwan University), in 1975, his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, in 1982, and his Ph.D. degree from Clarkson University, in 1987.
Dr. Orabi conducts theoretical and computational research in mechanical vibrations and dynamic systems and control. His more than 25 papers span a wide spectrum of problems in the dynamics of systems and structures. Dr. Orabi has also been involved in developing schemes for vibration control of space structures during the lift off and in orbit.
Professor Orabi has taught courses in both undergraduate and graduate level Mechanical Vibrations and undergraduate level capstone design courses, thermodynamics, Measurement Systems, Engineering Mechanics and Introduction to Engineering. One of Professor Orabi's most recent projects involves the development of learning modules. These modules provide undergraduate engineering students with improved learning of basic, conceptually-difficult engineering concepts in the context of a basic knowledge of finite element analysis.

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Samuel D. Daniels P.E. University of New Haven

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Dr. Daniels is an associate professor of mechanical engineering with more than 20 years of experience teaching laboratory classes. He also teaches in the multidisciplinary engineering foundation spiral curriculum at the University of New Haven. Research interests are in engineering education and renewable energy systems.

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Abstract

The ability to communicate effectively is very critical to engineering graduates to prepare them for the workplace. It is also an important ABET Learning Outcome. Student technical written and oral communication are embedded in courses spanning the undergraduate experience, traditionally leaving the basic writing skills to be addressed in composition or English courses. A recent restructuring of the University’s core curriculum heightened not only the practice of writing across the curriculum but emphasized the practice of writing in the discipline. To accommodate the new core curriculum, it was necessary for each engineering program at the University to redesign one of its courses to be designated writing intensive.

The Mechanical Engineering curriculum at the University of New Haven, even prior to the new core, included a sequence of 3 laboratory courses, each targeting different content while emphasizing common skills, including writing lab reports, design reports, progress reports and giving formal oral presentations before an audience. The first laboratory is scheduled for students’ sophomore year and targets instrumentation and measurement techniques. The second laboratory is scheduled for students’ in their junior year and targets experiments related to mechanics of materials and vibrational analysis. The fourth-year lab includes experiments related to thermo- fluids-and-heat transfer. All three labs heavily emphasize digital data acquisition; each level scaffolding the complexity of the error analysis expected. Underpinning the content of the three laboratory courses has always been a strong writing component. To accommodate the new core, the junior year mechanics lab was transformed from 2-credits to 3-credits.

This paper details the framework of the writing component across the 3-course sequence. The impact of the reformatting of the course on the quality of the students writing is examined through data collected from the students in the fourth-year courses. Observations and lessons learned are being used to inform further changes in the prior-year labs. The initial results show a positive impact based on student feedback and the overall performance of the students.

Carnasciali, M., & Dieckman, E. A., & Orabi, I. I., & Daniels, S. D. (2020, June), A Three-course Laboratory Sequence in Mechanical Engineering as a Framework for Writing in the Discipline Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34077

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