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Crafting a Virtual Studio: Some Models and Implementations

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

16

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36864

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36864

Download Count

181

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Paper Authors

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Zachary Riggins Del Rosario Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4676-1692

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Zachary del Rosario is a visiting assistant professor of engineering at Olin College. His goal is to help scientists and engineers reason under uncertainty. Zach uses a toolkit from data science and uncertainty quantification to address a diverse set of problems, including reliable aircraft design and AI-assisted discovery of novel materials.

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Riya Aggarwal Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Riya is junior at the Olin College of Engineering studying Engineering with a concentration in User Experience Design.

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Caitlin Anna Coffey Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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I am a second-year student at the Olin College of Engineering studying Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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Arwen Sadler Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Arwen Sadler is a junior at Olin College of Engineering studying Engineering with a concentration in Experience Design.

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Stephanos Matsumoto Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Stephanos (Steve) Matsumoto is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Olin College of Engineering. His research interests are broadly in security and privacy. Steve is especially interested in how we can make practical changes that improve the security of widely-used technology. He has several projects that aim to improve the security of the Web public-key infrastructure (PKI) by building on existing technology, and he is currently studying and improving the economic incentives underlying cryptocurrency. He is also interested in computer science education, particularly in the field of security, and focuses on designing courses that build students' (1) competence in technical fields, (2) confidence to tackle important and interesting problems, and (3) context in non-STEM fields. Before coming to Olin, Steve was a postdoctoral researcher in the Cybercrime group in the Institute for Software Research at Carnegie Mellon University, supervised by Nicolas Christin. He earned his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Secure Foundations group at Carnegie Mellon University, advised by Bryan Parno. He completed his MS at Carnegie Mellon University and his BS in Computer Science and Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. He also spent some time at ETH Zurich in Switzerland as a visiting PhD student. Steve enjoys travel, learning languages, and tabletop games.

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Alison Wood Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Dr. Alison Wood is an assistant professor of Environmental Engineering at Olin College of Engineering. Her academic interests include water and sanitation, interdisciplinary thinking and approaches to environmental and sustainability problems, and decision making in complex systems. Dr. Wood is also pursuing her interests in the areas of equity and justice through education and engagement with context and values. She serves as the Director of Olin’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program and the Director of the Babson-Olin-Wellesley Sustainability Certificate program, and she recently led the creation of Olin’s new Sustainability concentration, among many other internal and external engagements.

After graduating from Harvard University with a B.A. in Dramatic Literature, Dr. Wood worked professionally in theater and wrote and recorded two musical albums. She then returned to school to study engineering, earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University. Dr. Wood went on to earn a Master of Science in Engineering in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, while working with the Austin chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Her love of learning was first fostered by an unusual elementary school education that was deeply interdisciplinary with a substantial arts curriculum, which has informed all her subsequent thinking about the potential for education to transcend conventional models. Her teaching at Olin continues to inspire her to realize the potential for education in the twenty-first century.

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Paul Ruvolo Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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C. Jason Woodard Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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Jason Woodard is an associate professor and associate dean at Olin College.

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Abstract

A studio class combines the advantages of active learning, projects, and groupwork: Students in a studio course generally learn in a co-working space with instructors acting as consultants and coaches. However, the conditions of a global pandemic are not conducive to a traditional studio which relies on social closeness. In this paper, we will describe 4 examples of a virtual studio course, each of which translated a studio model to an online format. We will compare and contrast the class populations, course learning goals, and the chosen implementation, and will draw a synthesis through contrast.

The first example is a mid-sized (~90 students) first-year engineering course on modeling and simulation. Students work in pairs to complete three two-week projects set in different physical domains, coded in MATLAB. Project work alternates with modules in which students complete worksheets that develop the concepts and skills that are needed for the projects. Delivering the course remotely required translating several distinct types of studio interactions into a virtual format, including groupwork at “tables” of 4-5 students, full-studio discussions, “open studio” project work (including remote pair programming), project “check-in” meetings with instructors, just-in-time consultations with instructors and course assistants, project presentations, and peer feedback. Each of these interaction types was refined during the semester in response to student feedback; the teaching team also took advantage of new capabilities in our communication platform (Zoom) that became available during the semester, such as the ability for students to move freely between breakout rooms.

The second example is a mid-sized (~90 students), freshman-through-sophomore three-course sequence that integrates linear algebra, multivariable calculus, differential equations, and mechanics with engineering projects. In a series of themed modules, students work in groups to learn new mathematical and engineering concepts which culminate in a project. Pairs of students work on the final projects for each module with the goal of integrating the knowledge they have gained, learning the skills that it takes to translate theory to application, and contextualizing their work in important engineering challenges (e.g., facial recognition). Delivering the course remotely required finding structures to allow students to collaborate on solving math (e.g., writing equations, annotating graphs, drawing diagrams) and programming (e.g., exercises in MATLAB) problems and providing structures for instructors to provide remote assistance. The typically hands-on projects in the course had to be adapted to the online format through the use of techniques such as computer simulation (e.g., of robots) or rapid prototyping (e.g., 3d-printing of small boats).

The third example is a small (~30 students) upper-division course on data science. This was a flipped course, with content introduced through take-home exercises and reinforced through open-ended data “challenges.” Students were assigned to permanent teams (4-6 students) both to encourage peer learning, and to encourage socialization to counter feelings of loneliness during the shelter-in-place of 2020. The course was conducted on a multimedia chat platform (Discord) to promote ad hoc interactions between students and to facilitate small-group interactions.

The fourth example is a small (~25 students) introductory course to computing in Python. Previous iterations of the course heavily utilized “open studio time”, in which students would tackle exercises and projects in a small group (2-4). Despite improvements to the course meeting platform (Zoom) in which more in-person-like features are available, the overhead was sufficient to warrant a change in the class meeting format. Students in the course now switch between completing short exercises on their own machines (sometimes in collaboration with a few other students) and discussing their solutions as a class while the instructor writes and critiques student solutions in real time.

Del Rosario, Z. R., & Aggarwal, R., & Coffey, C. A., & Sadler, A., & Matsumoto, S., & Wood , A., & Ruvolo, P., & Woodard, C. J. (2021, July), Crafting a Virtual Studio: Some Models and Implementations Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36864

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