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Engineering Your Community: Experiences of Students in a Service-Learning Engineering Design Course

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Measuring the Impact of Community Engagement on Students

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.649.1 - 26.649.12



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Paper Authors


Gregory Warren Bucks University of Cincinnati

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Gregory Bucks joined the Department of Engineering Education in 2012. He received his BSEE from the Pennsylvania State University in 2004, his MSECE from Purdue University in 2006, and his PhD in Engineering Education in 2010, also from Purdue University. After completing his PhD, he taught for two years at Ohio Northern University in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science department, before making the transition to the University of Cincinnati. He has taught a variety of classes ranging introductory programming and first-year engineering design courses to introductory and advanced courses in electronic circuits. He is a member of ASEE, IEEE, and ACM.

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Kathleen A. Ossman University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Kathleen A. Ossman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at the University of Cincinnati. She teaches primarily freshmen with a focus on programming and problem solving. Dr. Ossman is interested in active learning, flipped classrooms, and other strategies that help students become self-directed learners.

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Tony James Bailey

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Leigh Anna Folger University of Cincinnati


Rachel Schwind Mechanical Engineering, University of Cincinnati

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Senior Mechanical Engineering Student at the University of Cincinnati

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Gabrielle Anne Notorgiacomo University of Cincinnati Honors Program

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Gabrielle Notorgiacomo is a Biomedical Engineering Major of the Class of 2019. She has experience in MATLAB, conversational Spanish, and leadership/management. So far in her college career, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA, a spot on the Dean's List, and membership in the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. She is also a member of Phi Sigma Rho (commonly known as Phi Rho, the engineering sorority).

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Jacob Daniel Wells

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Engineering Your Community: Experiences of Students in a Service-Learning Engineering Design CourseOne of the significant issues facing engineering over the past several decades has been therecruitment and retention of students, particularly minority and female students. One methodthat has proven fruitful in attracting these groups is to utilize a service-learning approach to showthe applicability of course content and the ways that it can positively affect others. Manyprograms, such as Engineers Without Borders, target service opportunities for engineers in adeveloping country and typically attract a higher percentage of female and minority participantsthan the national averages for engineering. Opportunities such as these are wonderful, but thereare vast opportunities available within one’s own community as well. At a large urban universityin the mid-west, a course is being piloted with a group of honors students based on theEngineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) framework to allow vertically integratedand multidisciplinary student teams to work on projects to aid the residents and staff of a local,inpatient facility catering to individuals with debilitating neurological diseases. The class wasopen to any student in the university’s honors program, and drew students from engineering, artand design, and the sciences.Two of the student teams will be highlighted in this paper. The first team consisted of a seniormechanical engineering student and a senior biomedical engineering student, who proposeddesigning a device to track lower arm mobility and strength for residents with variousneurological disorders. The device is intended to allow for tracking of muscle degradation overtime. Focus is placed on the lower arm movements because of their application for daily livingand specifically wheelchair operation. The motions mimicked by the device include squeezingand all six degrees of freedom related to wrist mobility.The second team, consisting of biomedical engineers, an electrical engineer, and a computerscientist, worked on a project to enhance the sensory stimulation of the residents. Because of theneurological disorders the residents are coping with, they experience a multitude of functional,visual, and communicative impairments. In order to compensate for these impairments, the goalof the project was to design an interactive game table that will enable and encourageinterpersonal interaction among fellow residents, interactions with the outside world throughtactile and visual feedback, and intellectual stimulation by way of strategy.In this paper, a description of the curricular structure and the student projects will be presented.In addition, the students will present their experiences with the course and how theirparticipation has affected their view of engineering and their future careers. A subset of thestudents in the course will discuss their own unique experiences with the course, specificallyfocusing on working in a multidisciplinary and vertically-integrated team, the development ofteamwork and technical skills, and the impact of the course on their view of engineering. Afterthe discussion of each student’s individual experience, the common experiences of the studentswill be discussed with implications for similar courses/programs.

Bucks, G. W., & Ossman, K. A., & Bailey, T. J., & Folger, L. A., & Schwind, R., & Notorgiacomo, G. A., & Wells, J. D. (2015, June), Engineering Your Community: Experiences of Students in a Service-Learning Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23987

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