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Implementing Collaborative Projects Using a National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenge: Provide Access to Clean Water.

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kamau Wright University of Hartford

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Kamau Wright is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Hartford. He specializes in thermo-fluids and plasma engineering. His technical research interests include applications of high voltage plasma discharges to liquids and wastewaters; fouling prevention and mitigation for heat exchangers; oxidation of organic matter in water; and inactivation of bacteria using high voltage plasmas.

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Ivana Milanovic University of Hartford

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Prof. Milanovic is a professor of the mechanical engineering at the University of Hartford. Her area of expertise is thermo-fluids with research interests in vortical flows, computational fluid dynamics, multiphysics modeling, and collaborative learning strategies. Prof. Milanovic is a contributing author for more than 80 journal publications, NASA reports, conference papers and software releases. Dr. Milanovic is elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and her honors include six NASA Faculty Fellowship Awards, The Bent Award for Scholarly Creativity, Award for Innovations in Teaching and Learning, and Outstanding Teacher Award of the University of Hartford.

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Tom A. Eppes University of Hartford

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Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Ave.
West Hartford, Ct 96117

Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan
MSEE, BSEE, Texas A&M University

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A Collaborative Project, can count as a High Impact Practice upon meeting a certain set of requirements, including but not limited to being embedded in a credit-bearing course; presenting students with a real-world problem; and counting for at least 20% of student’s final grade. This paper describes and reports on the progress and impact of such a Collaborative Project that was incorporated into undergraduate engineering thermo-fluid courses in Mechanical Engineering to enhance teaching and learning. Students in a Thermodynamics I course were tasked with addressing one of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges: “Provide Access to Clean Water”. The use of a Collaborative Project based on the NAE Grand Challenge: Provide Access to Clean Water, gave students a real-world challenge for which they attempted to apply their increasing understanding of thermodynamics to solve. Most students proposed and conducted analysis on methods of thermal desalination. This strategy was additionally implemented with a modeling and simulation component, as students were introduced to COMSOL earlier than previously done, with sophomore mechanical engineering students completing introductory COMSOL models toward the goal of being able to better model and simulate their engineering design solutions in subsequent courses, research experiences, and in engineering practice. This effort has resulted in various effects on students including: increasing student understanding of the curriculum; and inspiring students’ interest in participating in undergraduate research, including presenting their research and design work at an Undergraduate Research & Creativity Colloquium. Assessments reported here consist of a wide range of sources including: student work; student surveys during the experience; post-surveys; and student and professor reflections. These assessments provide cross-sectional and semi-longitudinal results.

Wright, K., & Milanovic, I., & Eppes, T. A. (2018, June), Implementing Collaborative Projects Using a National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenge: Provide Access to Clean Water. Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30620

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