June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
College Industry Partnerships
24.286.1 - 24.286.17
University and academy partnership: coupling undergraduate projects with K-12 outreach program to enhance engineering education The goal of this project is to simultaneously improve engineering education forundergraduate and secondary school students through a partnership between our university andan informal educational academy. The partnership is achieved through the development of anundergraduate-level course in product development where students design and fabricatebiologically inspired, educational tools that are used to expose secondary school students at theacademy to biology, engineering, and the principles of design that are common to both. Duringthe course, the undergraduates interview educators and secondary students to document therequirements of an educational device. They then create a detailed design of a novel device andconstruct a functional prototype. To strengthen the student experience as well as the partnershipwith the academy, the teachers of the university course closely work with educators at theacademy. The academy educators are invited for interviews, presentations and meetings toprovide the undergraduate students with information and feedback for the development of a goodhands-on educational device. The students’ progress is assessed through observation as well assurveys. This project-based course provides engaging, hands-on learning for undergraduatestudents that is different from regular classroom learning and has improved their creativethinking, manufacturing, scientific analysis, business and communication skills. The integrationof biology and engineering exposes undergraduate students to an interdisciplinary challenge thatencourages them to apply their engineering knowledge to unfamiliar problems. The use ofhands-on investigative teaching devices has captivated interest of educators in schools, museumsand aquariums to increase secondary school students’ understanding of engineering andencourage them to pursue a scientific career. The authors of this paper include a tenuredprofessor and a PhD candidate from the university, the executive vice president and chiefoperating officer and the science education manager from the academy. These authors haveworked together for over three years with the mission of improving engineering education forstudents of all ages. This partnership has not only enhanced the design experience forundergraduate students but also given the academy the opportunity to expand their curriculum toinclude engineering topics. Partnership between the university and academy has enabled biologyand engineering to be taught together in a way that excites students about both disciplines andattracts more students to engineering through the lens of biology.
Seth, D., & Carr, J. J., & Wenger, A. D., & McNair, L. D., & Tangorra, J. L. (2014, June), College and Nonprofit Industry Partnership: Coupling Undergraduate Projects with K-12 Outreach Program to Enhance Engineering Education Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20177
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