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Development of an Online Course in Research for Undergraduate Students

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Cooperative and Experiential Education Division Technical Session 1

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Cooperative and Experiential Education

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Paper Authors


Diane L Peters P.E. Kettering University

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Dr. Peters is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University.

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Ronald E Kumon Kettering University

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Prof. Ronald Kumon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at Kettering University. Prof. Kumon received his Ph.D. in physics from The University of Texas at Austin with a specialization in physical acoustics. He subsequently worked as a research physicist at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, University of Windsor, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. At Kettering, Prof. Kumon teaches introductory and upper-level physics courses, does research with undergraduates in physics and ultrasonics, supervises co-op and research theses, and coordinates the medical physics program and student physics clubs. He has also been a recent chair and co-chair of a Flint area faculty learning community on engaging undergraduate students in research.

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Gabrielle Feeny

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This Work in Progress paper will cover the development of an online course in research practices for undergraduate students. Active participation in research is an important part of experiential learning, which can help to prepare students for careers in a variety of settings including industrial R&D departments, academia, and government research labs. Undergraduate students’ research experiences may be limited in their value, however, by the learning curve students face as they begin to conduct research. The quality of their training may also be limited, with some receiving excellent training and orientation from a strong research lab or faculty mentor, and others receiving little guidance. In order to better prepare undergraduate students for research, faculty members in different departments at a midwestern STEM-focused University received an internal grant to develop a class in research for undergraduates. This class, which is designed to be offered online either for cohorts or for individual students as an independent study, contains information and resources on a diverse range of issues such as motivation for research, research ethics, planning a research project, conducting literature searches, experimental procedures, keeping lab documentation for various types of projects, data analysis, technical writing, intellectual property, and issues relevant to scoping out one’s own research project.

This paper will give the background for the course development, evaluation of the required content and decisions on structure and format, and describe the various modules in the course. It will also describe the future plans for deployment, evaluation, and continuous improvement of the course, and suggest ways in which it could benefit a wide range of undergraduate students in different disciplines.

Peters, D. L., & Kumon, R. E., & Feeny, G. (2021, July), Development of an Online Course in Research for Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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