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Engagement in Practice: Integration of an Engineering Service Learning Course with a High School Robotics Team

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engagement in Practice: Engaging the Community through Educational Outreach

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Ryan A Munden Fairfield University

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Dr. Ryan Munden is Associate Dean of Engineering at Fairfield University. He received his PhD in Applied Physics from Yale University and a BS in Physics from Stetson University. His areas of interest include semiconductor nanowires, nanotechnology education, first-year engineering initiatives, and engineering service, outreach, and education.

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Through service learning, both students and community partners help fulfill each other’s needs. A robotics service-learning course teaches the principles of robotics through hands-on activities and requires each student to participate in mentoring high school robotics team. Through these relationships, students gain a deeper understanding of the principles of robotics from the classroom, through teaching those principles to others and helping their mentored team solve problems. Students gain an appreciation for, and capability to, inspire younger generations to engage in STEM activities.

The course integrates STEM outreach into the engineering curriculum as a major elective for all engineering students. The course successfully implements reflection practices to measure attainment of civic learning outcomes, which are essential to true service-learning courses. A rubric measures student achievement of course technical outcomes. Improved team performance demonstrates effectiveness of the university mentors. The mentoring has a demonstrable effect on youth attitudes toward STEM education and careers. The course and mentoring resulted in 85% retention of existing youth team members, plus addition of new youth from 3 additional high schools, expanding the reach of the robotics team in the community. The course has also resulted in the university hosting a district competition, increasing STEM visibility to the ~1200 community attendees.

Munden, R. A. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: Integration of an Engineering Service Learning Course with a High School Robotics Team Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30386

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