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Development of an Integrated Curriculum for Educating Engineers about Nanotechnology: End-of-Life Management of Nanomaterial-Containing Wastes

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.422.1 - 24.422.8



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Paper Authors

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Charles E. Pierce University of South Carolina

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Nicole Berge University of South Carolina

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Development of an Integrated Curriculum for Educating Engineers about Nanotechnology: End-of-Life Management of Nanomaterial-Containing WastesThe rapid development of the nanotechnology field and its prevalence in our daily livesnecessitates undergraduate engineering students be prepared to enter a workforce wherereferences to and use of nanotechnology will likely be commonplace. Students not only need tobe well-versed in the fundamental aspects of nanotechnology, but also need to understand theimpact and implications of nanotechnology in their respective fields. For civil and environmentalengineering (CEE) students, this often involves areas such as nanomaterial-incorporation withinconstruction materials or nanomaterial-enhanced environmental remediation. However, it is alsoimportant that CEE students understand the environmental implications of nanomaterial use andsubsequent end-of-life management. As nanomaterial incorporation within consumer products,construction materials, and other medical or electronic devices increases, so will the need foreducated engineers to develop environmentally sound end-of-life management strategies forthese nanomaterial-laden items.This paper describes the development and implementation of an integrated undergraduatenanotechnology theme within the current civil and environmental engineering curriculum at_______________. This integrated approach is referred to as a Nanotechnology LINK, orLearning Integration of New Knowledge. The curriculum theme focuses on the environmentalimplications associated with the end-of-life management of nanomaterial-containing products,materials, and nanomaterial manufacturing waste streams. A major component of this integratedcurriculum is the development of a network of nanotechnology problem-based hands-on learningmodules using a pedagogical approach referred to as Environments for Fostering EffectiveCritical Thinking (EFFECTs). EFFECTs use student-centered learning strategies to promotedeep learning, enhance conceptual understanding, and stimulate growth in critical thinking skills.These exercises are being used throughout our curriculum, in sophomore, junior, and senior levelcourses. The EFFECTs are geared towards introducing students to important aspects ofnanotechnology fundamentals (e.g., surface area, surface chemistry), as well as potential issuesassociated with nanomaterial disposal (e.g., transport in waste environments, health concerns).As part of this integrated approach, students assemble nanotechnology-themed electronicportfolios, building content knowledge as they advance through a sequence of courses. The mostsignificant feature of this e-portfolio is a progression of student-generated nanotechnologyconcept maps that represent the accumulation of student knowledge at discrete points in thesequence.

Pierce, C. E., & Berge, N. (2014, June), Development of an Integrated Curriculum for Educating Engineers about Nanotechnology: End-of-Life Management of Nanomaterial-Containing Wastes Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20313

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