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Extrovert: System For Learning Across Disciplines

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Aerospace Technical Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.572.1 - 15.572.13



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Paper Authors


Narayanan Komerath Georgia Institute of Technology

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Professor, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering.

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Marilyn Smith Georgia Institute of Technology

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Associate Professor, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



The EXTROVERT project builds resources to enable engineers to solve problems cutting across disciplines. The approach is to enable learners to gain confidence with the process of solving problems, starting with their own preferred learning styles as far as possible. Ideas being implemented include a design-centered portal to aerospace engineering, vertical streams of technical content, learning assignments using case studies, a library of solved problems accessible from course content, and integrative concept modules. The project experiments with assessment strategies to measure learning in time to improve it. This paper sets out the issues and builds the concept for dealing with them. The first year’s progress and usage experience from Spring 2010 courses are summarized.


This project aims to help people acquire knowledge across several disciplines and hence excel in developing new concepts. The primary focus is on cross-disciplinary learning as relevant to designing flight vehicle systems. Some development of analytical, computational and experimental learning tools for discovery and skill-building is part of the effort. The theme is to enable development of advanced concepts. Objectives are: • Develop pedagogical resources that guide learning across disciplines for new concepts. • Acquire systematic, transferable experience on how engineers perform in such learning.

Universities must look 10 to 40 years ahead and show what is possible to achieve. Recognizing that graduates must start contributing immediately in the workforce, learners must also be enabled to build immediately-usable skills and confidence. Our project is set in the context of the aerospace engineering program at GIT.

Aerospace engineering requires depth of understanding. Engineering recruitment in industry and government is usually based on perceived depth. Engineering curricula are designed on the reasoning that a firm foundation in basic disciplines gives the graduate a lifetime to gain breadth. Universities also try hard to “teach students to work in teams”, build breadth into the curriculum and retain the interest of learners in STEM (science/ technology/engineering/mathematics) careers, without compromising on depth or rigor of specialized learning or increasing time to 1

graduation. Beyond preparatory first year courses, a course sequence going deeper into each area is the solution refined over the centuries, to turn 17-year-old freshmen into 22-year-old graduate engineers ready to work on difficult problems, with enough knowledge of methods. The intense, demanding and rigorous college experience also gives them confidence and persistence to approach tough problems.

Komerath, N., & Smith, M. (2010, June), Extrovert: System For Learning Across Disciplines Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16959

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