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How Research Informs Teaching and Learning Models: Case Studies in Building Solar Cell and Bioengineering Technology in the Lab and Classroom

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Anas Chalah Harvard University

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Dr. Anas Chalah
Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning
Lecturer on Engineering Sciences
Director of Lab Safety Program
Harvard University
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science
Pierce Hall G2A, 29 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

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Fawwaz Habbal Harvard University

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Fawwaz Habbal has served as the Executive Dean for the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) from 2007 to present. He is also a Senior Lecturer in Applied Physics at SEAS.
Prior to Harvard, he held the position as Corporate Vice President, responsible for research and product design at Polaroid Corporation where he served as a Senior Research and Engineering Fellow as well. After leaving this position he initiated two start-ups related to imaging.
Dr. Habbal’s research interests focus on superconductivity, magnetic materials, silicon nanowires for photon detection and nano-photonics more broadly.

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Michael Raspuzzi Harvard University

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Michael Raspuzzi is a design instructor and researcher at the Harvard University John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His work focuses on applied learning and curriculum development at the intersection of design, engineering, and entrepreneurship. Raspuzzi received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and an inaugural Master in Design Engineering from Harvard University--where his project EMMA: Maternal Healthcare Coach earned him the MDE 2018 Thesis Prize.

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The foundation of our university is deeply rooted in research across the fields of applied mathematics, science, and engineering. In a traditional academic trajectory, such research is not accessible for students until the highest level of education is reached in a doctoral or even post-doctoral environment. From the ever changing nature of complex problems to the open-ended investigation towards discovering solutions, there exists a gap between introductory level courses for core concepts and where this research occurs in laboratories and graduate courses. We are evaluating and assessing a bridge for this gap by building innovative models of teaching and learning to expose undergraduate students to a laboratory setting centered on research, which would be previously inaccessible due to traditional pre-requisites. By condensing the education pipeline and bridging the distance to content and concepts, we are investigating the learning journey for each student and instructor through the uncertainty; strengthening institutional collaboration to build a forum and feedback loop for knowledge dissemination; and assessing what the best methods are for developing and further implementing the curriculum.

This paper will cover case studies around two summer programs that have prototyped experiments and projects for students of diverse backgrounds to participate in an active learning setting. The first is an international exchange program that uses the strength of research topics from each institution in order to build two halves of a whole for a full experience in the students’ learning journey in solar cell fabrication. The second program is established for the application of bioengineering techniques, covering topics in cancer therapeutics and antibiotic development.

This paper will address our methodology of addressing factors influencing the success of the programs, including: Evaluating and selecting students from different backgrounds and in program team formation Choice of piloted topics to support our official college curriculum and learning outcomes Mechanisms of developing research and workshops understanding institutional collaborations between faculty, staff, and labs Mechanics of piloting new activities and engaging with the participating students Assessing of learning outcome (before, during, and after program completion)

Chalah, A., & Habbal, F., & Raspuzzi, M. (2019, June), How Research Informs Teaching and Learning Models: Case Studies in Building Solar Cell and Bioengineering Technology in the Lab and Classroom Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32898

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