June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Community Engagement Division
26.649.1 - 26.649.12
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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