June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.204.1 - 11.204.20
AN INTERWOVEN MULTISEMESTER DYNAMIC SYSTEMS PROJECT TO INTEGRATE STEM MATERIAL
Students generally do not understand how basic math and science material fits into all of their engineering courses. Because they have no clear-cut reason to embrace these concepts, the students hit the “reset button” after each and every course. This often comes back to haunt the students in subsequent upper level classes which require a firm understanding of this material.
A new multisemester interwoven dynamic systems project has been initiated to better integrate the material from differential equations, mathematical methods, laboratory measurements and dynamic systems across several semesters/courses so that the students can better understand the relationship of basic math and engineering material to an ongoing problem. This is emphasized with tutorial materials using graphical user interface (GUI) modules to instill concepts. Several experimental systems (including first and second order response) are used to illustrate many of these concepts in an interwoven fashion.
These materials have been implemented in the Mechanical Engineering curriculum at UMASS Lowell for the Mathematical Methods course, two Mechanical Engineering Laboratory courses and a Dynamic Systems course. The materials have also been extended and implemented in both the Mathematics Department and Chemical Engineering Department at UMASS Lowell. Also, the materials have been adapted and implemented in three courses at Michigan Technological University in the Mechanical Engineering Department. This paper highlights the overall concept underlying the new approach. A description of the project and modules (analytical and experimental) under development is presented.
Introduction (or Motivation)
Many students do not understand the need for basic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) material that is critical to the solution of engineering problems. Closely related material may be spread out over several courses. By the nature of the structure of semesters (or quarters), material is grouped together into logical units to allow for material to be deployed in a controlled fashion with specific timetable that integrates the material in the student’s academic career. Unfortunately, students don’t understand this. As far as they are concerned, the material does not appear to have any connection to other material from previous courses. This then makes the material appear to be unimportant. Students naturally tend to hit the “reset button” after each and every course since there is no apparent reason to want to actively retain the information. All professors encounter this problem as depicted in Figure 1.
Avitabile, P., & Pennell, S., & White, J., & Van Karsen, C. (2006, June), An Interwoven Multisemester Dynamic Systems Project To Integrate Stem Material Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--417
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