Asee peer logo

Exploration Elective: Students from all Disciplines Explore Engineering and Sciences

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Curriculum and Course Development

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Esmeralda Campos Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Esmeralda Campos is a postdoc researcher at Writing Lab at Tecnologico de Monterrey, and she has taught undergraduate physics courses at the School of Engineering and Sciences. She obtained her bachelor degree in Engineering Physics at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico. She studied a Master degree in Education, with a specialization in Science teaching and learning, and moved forward to the PhD in Educational Innovation, both at Tecnologico de Monterrey. She has focused her research in conceptual understanding of university students about abstract physical concepts, specifically in the introductory and upper-division electromagnetism courses. She has published five peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus, and one peer-reviewed book chapter. She has participated in several international educational research conferences, resulting in five conference proceedings indexed in Web of Science. In 2018, she participated in the local organizing committee for the conference of the International Research Group on Physics Teaching (GIREP, from its name in French) in San Sebastian, Spain. She was also part of the organizing committee of the annual meeting of the Mexican chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 2018. She has participated in projects with a common interest in gender studies in STEM education.

visit author page


Carlos Eduardo Martinez-Torteya Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM)

visit author page

Carlos Martinez-Torteya is the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs at the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnologico de Monterrey, where he teaches undergraduate Physics ranging from freshmen courses to upper-level electives in Particle Physics and General Relativity. Carlos holds a B.Sc. in Physics Engineering from Tecnologico de Monterrey, and a M.A. in Physics from SUNY Stony Brook, where he focused in Theoretical Particle Physics. Currently, his research interests are in Physics Education.

visit author page


Genaro Zavala Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico and Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Genaro Zavala is a Full Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico. He collaborates with the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad Andres Bello in Santiago, Chile. Professor Zavala is National Researcher Level 2 of the National System of Researchers of Mexico. He works with the following research lines: conceptual understanding, active learning, development of assessment tools, faculty development and studies in STEM. Genaro Zavala was appointed to the editorial board of the Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research journal of the American Physical Society for the period 2015 to 2018, vice president of the Latin American Physics Education Network (LAPEN) for the period 2013-2015 and is currently the coordinator of the Topical Group: Evaluation of Learning and Instruction of the International Group for Research and Teaching of Physics (GIREP by its French acronym). Dr. Zavala is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) where he was vice president candidate, a member of the Committee on Research in Physics Education (RIPE) a member and chair of the International Education Committee and elected member of Leadership Organizing Physics Education Research Council (PERLOC) in the period 2015-2018.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Universities face the challenges of an integrated, globalized world and new competencies required in the job market. In recent years, our institution, a large private multi-campus Mexican university, has been preparing for these new challenges by migrating its educational model from a traditional lecture modality to challenge-based learning, emphasizing competencies instead of educational objectives. Students take the Exploration Elective course during the third semester, a course outside their discipline, to explore another field. The School of Engineering and Sciences offers various Exploration Elective courses based on four avenues: Bioengineering and Chemical Process, Innovation and Transformation, Computer Science and Information Technologies, and Applied Sciences. In this contribution, we present the design of the Exploration Elective course and its implementation with large classes during the Covid-19 pandemic through synchronous distance education. We surveyed 649 students after they completed the class. They were enrolled in eight different courses at all 25 campuses. We report an overview of students' satisfaction with their achievement of the course's objectives, the implementation, the coordination among the professors, and the students' perceptions of the time and difficulty demands. The survey results showed a high level of student satisfaction with the exploration elective courses offered by the School of Engineering and Sciences. The course provided students from vastly different academic backgrounds the opportunity to learn about Science and Engineering through challenge-solving.

Campos, E., & Martinez-Torteya, C. E., & Zavala, G. (2021, July), Exploration Elective: Students from all Disciplines Explore Engineering and Sciences Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37137

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015