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Cooperative Learning Environments For Engineering Courses.

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.162.1 - 3.162.7



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Alexander N. Cartwright

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

Session 1364

Cooperative Learning Environments for Engineering Courses.

Alexander N. Cartwright Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering State University of New York at Buffalo

Abstract Undergraduate students have a strong desire to participate in hands-on “real-world” projects. Moreover, undergraduate students included in the author's research in optics and materials showed much excitement and interest in these research areas. The success of these undergraduate projects encouraged the author to convert two of the photonics courses at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) to have a similar environment to that of research. Specifically, a cost effective (only requires changing teaching style) collaborative active-learning environment to stimulate student interest was implemented. This learning environment incorporates the recently developed pedagogical techniques that have resulted from the engineering and science curriculum reform being pursued throughout the country: cooperative learning, experience-based hands-on learning, and the application of information technologies. Moreover, these techniques are especially well suited for engineers entering industry since they emphasize group efforts, active learning, and gender and race friendly learning styles. Here, the results of the first semester of using a collaborative active-learning environment in a senior level course and the plan for using this technique in a sophomore level computer programming course (with a larger numbers of students and two different sections for better assessment) will be presented.

Introduction Student interest in the physics related courses in Electrical and Computer Engineering, like photonics, materials, and fabrication, continues to decline. In this work, the author will focus on deficiencies in educating photonic engineers. The loss of interest in these areas is mostly due to the demand, from industry, for computer engineers and sciences and the promise of high paying careers. However, the author feels that this decline is also due to the inability to involve the students in physics related courses in an exciting manner. It has been proposed (and implemented to some degree) to include multimedia technologies to enhance the student learning environment by providing virtual laboratories and lectures using computer technology. Although these technologies can potentially provide an enhanced learning environment, they are expensive to establish and maintain, and, therefore, are not readily available. In addition, as pointed out by Wallace and Mutooni1, merely presenting the material using WEB based learning may not

Cartwright, A. N. (1998, June), Cooperative Learning Environments For Engineering Courses. Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--6989

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