June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Energy Conversion and Conservation
How Solar Boating Teaches the Lessons of Energy Conversion and Conservation Students gain a tremendous amount of theoretical knowledge during their time in the classroom, but a practical application of that knowledge is required in order for the student to turn what is learned into a skill. This is especially true for students majoring in applied science, and even more so for those with a concentration in engineering. Students who participate in hands-on projects that allow them to apply what has been learned in the classroom in a real and meaningful way not only gain more from their academic experience, they prove the value of their time in the classroom to themselves. This is especially true for larger-scale projects that are intended to be entered into international competitions. The Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Experimental Vehicle’s Program (EVP) provides students with a unique opportunity to participate in an active engagement project that focuses on energy conversion and conservation with the additional intention of increasing their knowledge and interests in renewable energy sources through the practical application of solar power. The project is an all-electric, high-speed, solar-powered boat that participating students design and construct within the constraints of the rules set forth by the professional organization which sponsors the international competition that the craft is designed to compete in. Students are allowed complete autonomy during the design, construction, and testing phases and all participating students are encouraged to attend the competition. The MTSU EVP solar boat project epitomizes the spirit of innovative teaching and learning strategies. In addition to offering students a unique opportunity to enhance their technical and soft skills and gain solid resume and portfolio building experiences, participation helps them to stay engaged academically. Dedication and enthusiasm are at their highest when people are engaged in work they find stimulating and are rewarded for. Here the reward comes from working with a team to complete a complex project and enter it into an international competition. The success in doing so not only validates the effort the students puts into their time in the classroom but it also allows them to prove to themselves, and to potential employers, that they are real engineers capable working with others to solve complex problems.
Foroudastan, S. D., & Woodson, C. R. (2017, June), How Solar Boating Teaches the Lessons of Energy Conversion and Conservation Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28450
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