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Cooking Without Recipes: A Case Study For An Open Ended Laboratory Experience In Semiconductor Processing

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.124.1 - 1.124.8



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Paper Authors

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Evan D. H. Green

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Emily L Allen

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Linda Vanasupa

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3226

Cooking Without Recipes: a Case Study for an Open-Ended Laboratory Experience in Semiconductor Processing

E.L. Allen, E.D.H. Green, L.S. Vanasupa San Jose State University/California Polytechnic University-SLO


The need for graduate engineers with the ability to think critically about a design problem, work with teammates from different disciplines, communicate ideas effectively in both written and oral format, and to comprehend “the big picture” has been well-documented1,2. We have proposed a new method of designing laboratory courses for the upper division which promotes the development of such skills as well as teaching experimental design. We are currently testing our hypothesis that traditional weaknesses in data analysis, communication of ideas, and self-motivated acquisition of knowledge can be overcome by providing students with a laboratory environment which encourages open-ended experimentation. To this end, we are developing a methodology for converting typical “cookbook” laboratory courses to multi-disciplinary, team-based open- ended design experiences.

Our work is done in the context of the development of an interdisciplinary curriculum on electronic materials and devices3. The curriculum consists of a three-course sequence, primarily for Electrical and Materials Engineering majors. In two of the courses (“Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Properties of Materials” and “Semiconductor Device Physics”) we develop fundamental skill areas such as written and oral presentation of engineering ideas; data interpretation and presentation; and cooperative learning. These skills are then applied in an elective course on integrated circuit fabrication (“Electronic Materials Processing”). The course is completely team-based and the classroom is treated as a start-up company, nicknamed Spartan Semiconductor Services, Inc. The teams are hand-assembled by the instructors and rotating jobs are assigned to encourage leadership and responsibility. During the semester course, the students fabricate and test semiconductor devices as well as perform experiments on various aspects of semiconductor processing. This paper will focus on the development of this course.

Academic Context

San Jose Sate University is a primarily undergraduate institution which draws its students from the surrounding Silicon Valley. It is primarily a commuter school, and a majority of the engineering students transfer from community colleges as juniors. Many students hold part-time or full-time jobs in local industry while studying part-time; the result is that on the whole students do not go through the engineering program as part of a cohesive unit. This makes team learning skills an important skill on which to focus.

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Green, E. D. H., & Allen, E. L., & Vanasupa, L. (1996, June), Cooking Without Recipes: A Case Study For An Open Ended Laboratory Experience In Semiconductor Processing Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5942

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