Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Community Engagement Division
Background and motivation: A sophomore-level mechanical engineering Measurements Lab course was modified in the Fall of 2016 with the help of the university’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement to incorporate academic service into the final project. This is a 4-week, open-ended group project in which students use a sensor that works with the Arduino microcontroller and design a simple experiment to answer a question or test a hypothesis of their choice. The topic of many projects had gravitated to issues that are part of the students’ daily campus life. The projects had generated data that could be utilized by community partners on campus. Therefore, the incorporation of service learning component seemed a natural fit.
Project Design and Execution: Requirements for the final project include: (1) Project topic relates to a problem/issue on campus, (2) Students must reach out and communicate with the relevant office at the university (i.e. facilities, classroom management, etc.), and (3) Report must include recommendations based on the collected data. A two-part reflection exercise (before and after) was added to help students understand their expectations and to reflect about their experience while working on the project.
Lessons learned: Students enjoyed being active participants in the campus and being able to link what they learned in the classroom with an issue in their community. The main challenge has been communications with the relevant offices at the university, as they have not always been easy or productive.
Conclusions: The modification to the project proved to be a simple way to introduce service learning to engineering students without the need of major course redesign. Working with partners on campus makes it easier for students and faculty to manage interactions. Similar projects can be easily incorporated in other courses or engineering disciplines.
Basalo, I., & Toft-Nielsen, J. A., & Evans, S. D. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: Academic Service in a Sophomore-level Mechanical Engineering Measurements Lab Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30379
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