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Collaborative Research: Center for Mobile Hands-on STEM

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

DOI

10.18260/p.26510

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26510

Download Count

463

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Paper Authors

biography

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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Bonnie H. Ferri Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Bonnie Ferri is a Professor and the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. She performs research in the area of active learning, embedded computing, and hands-on education. She received the IEEE Education Society Harriet B. Rigas Award.

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Aldo A. Ferri Georgia Institute of Technology

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Al Ferri received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in 1981 and his PhD degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 1985. Since 1985, he has been a faculty member in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, where he now serves as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. His research areas are in the fields of dynamics, controls, vibrations, and acoustics. He is also active in course and curriculum development. He is a Fellow of the ASME.

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Deborah Walter Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Deborah Walter is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She teaches courses in circuits, electromagnetics, and medical imaging. Before joining academia in 2006, she was at the Computed Tomography Laboratory at GE’s Global Research Center for 8 years. She worked on several technology development projects in the area of X-ray CT for medical and industrial imaging. She is a named inventor on 9 patents. She has been active in the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in engineering and currently PI for an NSF-STEM grant to improve diversity at Rose-Hulman.

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Kathleen Meehan Virginia Tech

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Kathleen Meehan earned her B.S. in electrical engineering from Manhattan College and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois under the supervision of Prof. Nick Holonyak, Jr. She worked as a member of technical staff at Lytel, Inc., following graduation. At Polaroid, she was appointed a Senior Research Group Leader, responsible for the design of laser diodes and arrays. After leaving Polaroid, she was employed at Biocontrol Technology. She moved into academia full-time in 1997 and worked at the University of Denver, West Virginia University, and Virginia Tech. She is currently the director of the University of Glasgow-University of Electronic Science and Technology of China Electronics and Electrical Engineering programme. While at Virginia Tech, she collaborated with Dr. Robert W. Hendricks, with assistance of a number of undergraduate students, to develop an instructional platform known as Lab-in-a-Box, which is used in a number of courses within the Virginia Tech B.S.E.E. program. She continues to be actively involved in the development of mobile hands-on pedagogy as well as research on other topics in STEM education, the synthesis and characterization of nanoscale optical materials, and fermentation processes.

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Abstract

Remarkable progress has been made in the development and implementation of hands-on learning in STEM education. The mantra of See One, Do One, Teach One overly simplifies the idea but does provide a helpful structure to understand how many engineering educators are attempting to change the learning experience of our students. Until recently, this effort has been faced with a major limitation. We can easily incorporate traditional paper and pencil and numerical analysis, synthesis, and simulation in our classrooms. However, the remaining key aspect of doing the job of an engineer – experimentation – has only been included through the use of expensive and limited-access lab facilities. Small, low-cost Mobile Hands-On STEM (MHOS) learning platforms (e.g., myDAQ, Analog Discovery, and Circuit Gear Mini) provide almost unlimited opportunities to solve this remaining problem in engineering courses. Pedagogy based on these tools has been implemented and studied in several institutions in the US and in other countries, impacting thousands of students each year. In all cases in which hands-on learning has been studied, the pedagogy has been successfully implemented. This has occurred even in traditionally theory-only based courses, resulting in more engaged students and instructors. Although the initial assessments of this new approach to STEM education argue for broad application, the definitive case for its adoption has yet to be documented so that all STEM educators can fully appreciate its merit. The Center for Mobile Hands-On STEM is pursuing activities that support the following goals: (1) Gather strong evidence of the effectiveness of Mobile Hands-On STEM (MHOS) pedagogy on student learning. (2) Develop an effective and pro-active dissemination strategy for the entire STEM educational community.

To achieve these goals, we have recently focused on: (1) Creating and implementing new standardized assessment tools that measure student learning, especially through the development of new experimentally focused concept inventories, as well as measure ease of adoption by instructors. (2) Identifying implementation barriers for wide-spread adoption and how these might be overcome by applying the business start-up methodology of the NSF I-Corps program, working with faculty who have recently received funding to implement the mobile pedagogy, and holding focus groups among different constituencies. Both of these general areas of activity represent works-in-progress. In the former we are investigating formulations of concepts and possible learning and assessment activities and collecting data on their effectiveness. We identify three objectives of Hands-On instruction, 1) to apply instrumentation to make measurements of physical quantities, 2) to identify limitations of models to predict of real-world behavior, and 3) to develop an experimental approach to characterize and explain the world. We have consulted with experts to develop a list of common misconceptions students display in laboratory instruction. A unique feature in testing Hands-On concepts is that laboratory skills are inextricably tied to analytical concepts and therefore both analytical and hands-on concepts have to be tested in order to distinguish the root cause of the misunderstanding. Based on these common misconceptions, test questions are being developed and data is being collected on their effectiveness to assess learning. Feedback from faculty and students interested in MOHS pedagogy is being solicited. For the latter, we have had a group of our colleagues go through I-Corps training as part of a pilot program to determine whether the I-Corps model could be used to expand the impact of educational research. Strong collaborative relationships have been developed with new groups who are aggressively implementing similar pedagogy throughout all of their engineering programs. Finally, we will be hosting a series of online practitioners’ workshops rather than the usual physical face-to-face workshop, because of the potential for wider and longer term impact. The workshops will engage leaders in various aspects of hands-on learning who will develop videos that address issues associated with adoption and sustainability, key areas within engineering curricula and time into degree where students gain significantly by engaging in active learning to facilitate learning, a review of the models of adoption, etc. An exemplar video is being created for use as a guide for those who will be asked to develop videos on specific topics related to hands-on learning and as the video associated with the first online workshop.

Connor, K. A., & Ferri, B. H., & Ferri, A. A., & Walter, D., & Meehan, K. (2016, June), Collaborative Research: Center for Mobile Hands-on STEM Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26510

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