June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Funding from the National Science Foundation has allowed the establishment of a three-year summer research program where undergraduate engineering students spend 10-12 weeks in Jaipur, India. Six students from one university travelled to Jaipur during the summer of 2015, and four students were sent in the summer of 2016 to conduct research on the Jaipur Foot, a low cost foot prosthesis. Based on the successes and difficulties from the 2015 year, a number of changes were employed to improve both the educational and research goals for the 2016 year. One major change to the program included adding a research component to the independent study course students take during the semester prior to traveling abroad. This spring 2016 course focused on preparing students from not only a cultural standpoint, but also on technical content specific to the project, including the use of material testing systems and finite element analysis. The goal of this independent study course was to minimize adjustment time upon arrival in India. In 2016, students from two separate universities were selected, which provided an opportunity to work with both Indian and American scientists whom they had not previously collaborated with. The targeted improvements made in the second year allowed better technical preparation and further development of collaborative and teamwork skills. These goals will be evaluated using a broad range of metrics, including student journals from India, pre and post surveys focusing on technical and teamwork skills specific to global competency, and exit interviews. Preliminary observations suggest that students felt better prepared to conduct technical research as a result of the independent study course and that the limited interaction between students of separate universities prior to arrival had no negative impact on teamwork. This study could be used to support technical education projects and preparing a diverse team prior to conducting undergraduate international research programs. This paper will outline the research experience, changes made in the second year, impacts changes made on student learning and technical success, and suggestions for further improvement in the final year of the program.
Wheatley, B. B., & Fischencih, K. M., & Abrams, L., & Sorby, S. A., & Mali, H. S., & Jain, A. K., & Haut Donahue, T. L. (2017, June), Improvement of an International Research Experience: Year Two Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28487
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