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Experience Teaching a Graduate Research Methods Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Research and Graduate Studies

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.608.1 - 25.608.14



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Paper Authors


Wayne W. Walter Rochester Institute of Technology

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Wayne Walter is a professor of mechanical engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He received his B.S. in marine engineering from SUNY Maritime College, his M.S. in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University, and his Ph.D. in mechanics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Walter has worked for the U.S. Army, Rochester Products and Delco Products divisions of General Motors, and Xerox, and is a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in New York state. He has 35 years experience teaching design related courses, and has developed expertise in the areas of robotics, and micro-robotics. He is currently working on the locomotion of micro-robots with micro-sensors and actuators, and on artificial muscles using electroactive polymers.

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Experience Teaching a Graduate Research Methods CourseThe Research Methods course is designed for dual-degree mechanical engineering studentswishing to change from a non-thesis, course only, Bachelor of Science/Master of Engineeringprogram to a research-based Bachelor of Science/ Master of Science program where a thesis isrequired. The course covers research tools that these students will need including: conductingreviews of technical papers, annotating technical papers, conducting a literature search, creatingbibliographical citations, interviewing prospective faculty thesis advisors, ethics in engineeringresearch, understanding the societal context of their research, and communicating researchresults, among others. After interviewing faculty, students decide on a thesis advisor and topicarea. The main deliverable of the course is a preliminary thesis proposal consisting of anabstract, literature search, statement of work, and a timeline to complete their program. Theevolution and development of the course, and experiences with students will be discussed in thispaper, along with recommendations for individuals wishing to try such a course format.

Walter, W. W. (2012, June), Experience Teaching a Graduate Research Methods Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21365

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