Asee peer logo

Integrating Research Into The Undergraduate Curriculum Nasa's Microgravity Bioreactor

Download Paper |


1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.329.1 - 4.329.9

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Shani Francis

author page

Neal Pellis

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3613

Integrating Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum – NASA’s Microgravity Bioreactor Shani Francis, Keith Schimmel / Neal R. Pellis North Carolina A&T State University / Johnson Space Center


Currently, there is an emphasis in many funding agencies on integrating research results into the undergraduate curriculum. The basic rationale is that research expenditures will thus be leveraged to improve the quality of undergraduate education by providing students with interesting, real world engineering problems that will motivate, provide opportunities for students to integrate material from different courses, and develop problem solving skills. While there is little disagreement as to the potential benefits of this approach, there is the need for models of how to efficiently perform the research-teaching integration. This paper explores the use of Macromedia Authorware 5 Attain ® to develop an interactive multimedia module that will test the research integration concept and its feasibility.

The module explores the NASA microgravity bioreactor, which was developed in the late 1980’s and is significantly impacting the tissue culture research community. The module is structured to interactively lead students through a problem solving strategy that involves problem definition, solution generation, decision analysis, solution implementation, and solution evaluation. Topics covered in the module will include ones that are typically covered in introductory numerical methods and data analysis courses. Initial testing of the module is in a sophomore level introduction to chemical engineering analysis and design course.

I. Introduction

Teaching is most effective and most fun when the student is properly motivated. A significant problem in engineering education today can be motivation of students. Given that oftentimes a students M-Q (motivation quotient) is more important to success than their I-Q (intelligence qoutient) (Hendricks, 1987), the importance of finding ways to properly motivate students cannot be underestimated. The goal of the multimedia module under development that is described herein is to help meet this need.

A teacher’s motivation toolbox has been described as starting with creating a need (Hendricks, 1987). Experiences create needs. This should be followed by challenging a student. With a need created and a challenge laid down, a student is ready for structuring experiences that consist of telling (both orally and in writing), showing (to provide a model), and doing under a controlled situation where it is ok to make mistakes. Having developed basic skills from structuring experiences, the student is now ready to develop these skills further by attempting real-life problems. Providing recognition and encouragement along the way is also essential. The teacher must possess patience since everyone can be motivated, but not at the same time. This idealized educational process is extremely difficult for an engineering educator to achieve as it requires a considerable investment of time, a resource most engineering educators have in

Francis, S., & Pellis, N., & Schimmel, K. (1999, June), Integrating Research Into The Undergraduate Curriculum Nasa's Microgravity Bioreactor Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1999 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015