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Integrating Online Learning in Interdisciplinary Electromechanical and Electromechanical/Biomedical Design Courses

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Design Spine

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.912.1 - 22.912.12



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Paper Authors


Salah Badjou Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Professor Salah Badjou, Ph.D., Wentworth Institute of Technology, Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Department, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Email:
Telephone: 617-989-4113.

Salah Badjou received a B.S. in physics and mathematics and a physics from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, and a Ph.D. in solid-state physics from Northeastern University,
Boston, MA. He has a combined multidisciplinary experience of more than 25 years university teaching, research, and industry. This includes two years, as a postdoctoral research fellow in chemical engineering at the National Center for Scientific Research in France (CNRS), and more than nine years teaching physics, electrical and mechanical engineering, mathematics, chemistry, physical science, astronomy, biology, and earth science at several colleges and universities throughout the USA. He worked as a high-voltage R&D engineer at Thomson Consumer Electronics, Lancaster, PA from 1998 to 2000, and as a consultant in biomedical imaging (PET). He has been a full-time faculty in electronics and electromechanical engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology since 2000, where he has been teaching in the areas of electronics and biomedical systems engineering, including five years of design courses. He has conducted research, with peer-reviewed publications, in biomedical engineering in the areas of biomechanics, bioelectricity, and biomedical imaging, since 1992. Other research interests include renewable energy, optical fiber communications, and project-based multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary education.

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Integrating Online Learning in Interdisciplinary Electromechanical and Electromechanical/Biomedical Design Courses AbstractThe following paper reports on the results of efforts at integrating online learning to the Junior-level and Capstone fifth-year-level interdisciplinary electromechanical andelectromechanical/biomedical design courses at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Themotivation is to enhance student time management as well develop an effective model of hybridinterdisciplinary engineering design course with the most appropriate technology. The Junior-level course is an intense course where students are expected to complete an original design anda prototype in one semester. Project and time management are critical. The Capstone project ismade of a sequence of 2 semester courses and involves the same requirements as the juniordesign course. Groups are typically from 3 to 5. Much of the work involves testing andprototype development in the labs and therefore requires the students’ presence on campus. Onthe other hand, a substantial amount of work does not require actual physical meetings. Thisincludes reports writing (proposal, 2 progress reports, weekly memos, and a final report),research work and communication. Also, the current meeting of the instructor at the weekly labsessions for “consultations” and the weekly one-hour lecture may readily be provided online.The author has been teaching the junior design course for the last 4 years. Student feedbackindicated consistently difficulties managing their time. As a possible improvement, the authorhas introduced the formation of virtual online groups whereby each group shares editingcapability and the possibility of group videoconferencing, in Spring semester of 2009. This isespecially helpful, during Spring Break, and for commuting group members. It permits theefficient completion of report writing, It was expected that this will lead to improved timemanagement and efficiency, while making it easier for groups to manage and complete theirprojects. Assessment is based on a carefully designed anonymous survey of the students, andquantification of improvements in student performance, as well as the effects on teaching.Results have been encouraging. Benefits were observed both for the students and the instructor.In Fall 2010, the author has taught capstone design. He decided to extend the initiativeintroduced in junior design. In addition, Videoconferencing at the classroom and consultationlevels was introduced. The above approach provides a good model for a hybrid project-basededucation. This paper discusses the results of both the Junior-level and Capstone designexperience and the lessons learned.

Badjou, S. (2011, June), Integrating Online Learning in Interdisciplinary Electromechanical and Electromechanical/Biomedical Design Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18238

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