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Board 99: Assessing the Results of an Additive Manufacturing Course at Three Large Universities on Undergraduates and High School Students

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Patricia Ann Maloney Texas Tech University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Patricia Maloney is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Texas Tech University. Dr. Maloney has 10 years of experience as a sociologist of education and holds a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on individual- and program-level assessment. She also holds a master’s in sociology, a master’s in philosophy, and a doctorate in sociology from Yale University. Previous to academia, she was a middle school science teacher in a predominantly minority, low-income school, thus giving her special insight on how to adopt these topics for K-12 students. Dr. Maloney’s current research focuses on immigrant students, their teachers, and standardized tests in K-12 schools.

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Weilong Cong Texas Tech University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Weilong (Ben) Cong is an Assistant Professor in Department of Industrial Engineering at Texas Tech University (TTU). Dr. Cong received a Ph.D. in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Kansas State University in 2013. After graduation, Dr. Cong worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and a Research Assistant Professor at Kansas State University for one year. Dr. Cong’s current research activities mainly include ultrasonic vibration-assisted additive manufacturing process of high performance metallic materials and laser additive manufacturing of ceramic and composite materials. Dr. Cong has taught two undergraduate manufacturing classes and two graduate advanced manufacturing classes at TTU.

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Meng Zhang Kansas State University

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Dr. Meng (Peter) Zhang is specifically interested in preprocessing (pelleting and size reduction) for advanced biofuel manufacturing, additive manufacturing, and engineering education innovation. He teaches manufacturing processes and renewable energy. Dr. Zhang is actively involving undergraduate engineering students in his research projects with a tradition in providing research opportunities for undergraduates, especially for those who from the underrepresented group.

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Bingbing Li California State University, Northridge Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Bingbing Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management at California State University Northridge. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Manufacturing Systems Engineering. His research includes additive manufacturing (laser additive manufacturing, 3D bioprinting, FDM & SLA for plastics), sustainable design and manufacturing, and sustainability analysis of nanotechnologies.

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Additive manufacturing (AM) is prevalent in academic, industrial, and layperson use for the design and creation of objects via joining materials together in a layer upon layer fashion. However, few universities have an undergraduate course dedicated to it. Thus, using NSF IUSE support [grant number redacted for review] from the Exploration and Design Tier of the Engaged Student Learning Track, this project has created and implemented such a course at three large universities: Texas Tech (a Carnegie high research productivity and Hispanic Serving Institution), Kansas State (a Carnegie high research productivity and land grant university) and California State, Northridge (the largest of all the California State campuses and highly ranked in serving underprivileged students). Our research team includes engineering professors and a sociologist trained in assessment and K-12 outreach to determine the effects of the course on the undergraduate and high school students. We are currently in year two of the three years of NSF support.

The course focuses on the fundamentals of the three families of prevailing AM processes: extrusion-based, powder-based, and liquid-based, as well as learning about practical solutions to additive manufacturing of common engineering materials including polymers, metals and alloys, ceramics, and composites. It has a lecture plus lab format, in that students learn the fundamentals in a classroom, but then apply and broaden their knowledge in lab projects and independent studies. Additionally, as outreach, we host field trips from local high schools during which the undergraduates give presentations about discrete AM skills, then lead the high school students through a lab project focused on those skills. This creates a pipeline of knowledge about AM for younger students as well as an opportunity for undergraduates to develop leadership and speaking skills while solidifying their knowledge. We are also in the process of uploading videos and lab projects to an online Google Classroom so that those with access to 3D printers in other areas can learn online for free. We are also self-publishing an accompanying textbook and lab manual.

Beyond the course itself, one of the innovations of our project is the assessment strategy. For both undergraduates and high school students, we have been able to collect content area knowledge both before and after the class, as well as information about their attitudes towards engineering and self-efficacy beliefs. This has been particularly illuminating in regards to subgroups like women and students of color.

Our research questions include: i) what is the knowledge growth about AM during this course? ii) does this differ by university? iii) does this differ by gender or race? iv) what are the best ways to make this course portable to other universities?

Preliminary results indicate a statistically significant improvement in knowledge for all students. This was particularly true for women, which may indicate the promise of AM courses in decreasing the female dropout rate in engineering. Attitudes towards engineering and self-efficacy perceptions also differed after the class, but in varying ways by demographic subgroups and university. This will be explored more in the paper.

Maloney, P. A., & Cong, W., & Zhang, M., & Li, B. (2019, June), Board 99: Assessing the Results of an Additive Manufacturing Course at Three Large Universities on Undergraduates and High School Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32475

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