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Diffusion of Mobile, Hands-on Teaching and Learning in Puerto Rico: First Year Results

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Juan C Morales Universidad del Turabo

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Dr. Juan C. Morales, P.E., joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at Universidad del Turabo (UT), Gurabo, Puerto Rico, in 1995 and currently holds the rank of professor. Dr. Morales was the ABET Coordinator of the School of Engineering for the initial ABET-EAC accreditation of all four accredited programs at UT. He has been Department Head of Mechanical Engineering since 2003. His efforts to diffuse innovative teaching and learning practices derive directly from the outcomes assessment plan that he helped devise and implement as ABET Coordinator.

Address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universidad del Turabo, PO Box 3030, Gurabo, Puerto Rico, 00778.

Tel. 787-743-7979 x 4182


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Kenneth A Connor Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Kenneth Connor is a professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE) where he teaches courses on electromagnetics, electronics and instrumentation, plasma physics, electric power, and general engineering. His research involves plasma physics, electromagnetics, photonics, biomedical sensors, engineering education, diversity in the engineering workforce, and technology enhanced learning. He learned problem solving from his father (ran a gray iron foundry), his mother (a nurse) and grandparents (dairy farmers). He has had the great good fortune to always work with amazing people, most recently professors teaching circuits and electronics from 13 HBCU ECE programs and the faculty, staff and students of the SMART LIGHTING ERC, where he is Education Director. He was ECSE Department Head from 2001 to 2008 and served on the board of the ECE Department Heads Association from 2003 to 2008.

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Yacob Astatke Morgan State University

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Dr. Yacob Astatke completed both his Doctor of Engineering and B.S.E.E. degrees from Morgan State University (MSU) and his M.S.E.E. from Johns Hopkins University. He has been a full time faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at MSU since August 1994 and currently serves as the Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Engineering. Dr. Astatke is the winner of the 2013 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) “National Outstanding Teaching Award," and the 2012 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Region "Distinguished Teacher" Award. He teaches courses in both analog and digital electronic circuit design and instrumentation, with a focus on wireless communication. He has more than 15 years experience in the development and delivery of synchronous and asynchronous web-based course supplements for electrical engineering courses. Dr. Astatke played a leading role in the development and implementation of the first completely online undergraduate ECE program in the State of Maryland. He has published over 50 papers and presented his research work at regional, national and international conferences. He also runs several exciting summer camps geared towards middle school, high school, and community college students to expose and increase their interest in pursuing Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Dr. Astatke travels to Ethiopia every summer to provide training and guest lectures related to the use of the mobile laboratory technology and pedagogy to enhance the ECE curriculum at five different universities.

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University

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Dr. Michael Prince is a professor of chemical engineering at Bucknell University and co-director of the National Effective Teaching Institute. His research examines a range of engineering education topics, including how to assess and repair student misconceptions and how to increase the adoption of research-based instructional strategies by college instructors and corporate trainers. He is actively engaged in presenting workshops on instructional design to both academic and corporate instructors.

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Idalides Vergara-Laurens Universidad del Turabo

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Idalides Vergara-Laurens is an Associate Professor at the Universidad del Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. He received a B.S degree in Computer System Engineering from Universidad Industrial de Santander in 2000, and a M.S. degree in Computer Engineering from University of Puerto Rico at Mayagez. In 2014, he received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering at University of South Florida, FL, USA. His research interests include crowd sensing, security, privacy and green networking.

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Miguel A. Goenaga-Jimenez Universidad del Turabo

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This paper discusses the first year results of an initiative to diffuse mobile, hands-on teaching and learning in all the engineering schools in Puerto Rico. The effort addresses engineering courses that have an electrical/electronic circuits component such as electrical networks, electronics, experimental methods, and controls. This effort relies on constructivist methodologies which are based on the widely accepted principle that students construct their own versions of reality rather than simply absorbing versions presented by their teachers. The Analog Discovery Board, essentially a circuits laboratory that fits in the palm of one’s hand, is used as the medium to explore course concepts. The primary means for diffusion consist of two NSF-funded faculty workshops in Puerto Rico. The first workshop was conducted at Universidad del Turabo in February 2015. The workshop introduced the board and parts kit to 16 participating faculty members from four of the five engineering schools in Puerto Rico. The workshop also provided pedagogical materials that have already been developed for some courses, including videos that can be used in a flipped classroom environment. The workshop was rated as “excellent” with a score of 4.9 on a scale of 1 to 5. By the end of the first workshop, each faculty participant was ready to immediately start exploring mobile hands-on learning in their classrooms. Twenty Analog Discovery boards and parts kits were handed out to each participating institution to seed the diffusion effort. Results of a survey are presented in the paper. The results include diffusion rates as measured by the number of class sessions the board was used divided by the total number of class sessions held after the workshop, description of how the board was used in class and by the students, and issues that held back the faculty from implementing the board more often in the course.

Morales, J. C., & Connor, K. A., & Astatke, Y., & Prince, M. J., & Vergara-Laurens, I., & Goenaga-Jimenez, M. A. (2016, June), Diffusion of Mobile, Hands-on Teaching and Learning in Puerto Rico: First Year Results Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26837

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