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Integration Of Journal Club Ideology Into A Nanotechnology Course

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

History, Program Design, and even a Journal Club

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.782.1 - 15.782.13



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Paper Authors


Smitesh Bakrania Rowan University

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Smitesh Bakrania is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. He received his PhD from University of Michigan in 2008 and his BS from Union College in 2003. His research interests include combustion synthesis of nanoparticles and their applications.

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

Integration of Journal Club Ideology into a Nanotechnology Course

Nanotechnology is bound to dramatically impact how we use materials in all aspects of engineering. As a result it is in our best interest to educate undergraduate engineers about the basics and its potential. However, being a nascent interdisciplinary field with constantly evolving applications, nanotechnology typically poses a challenge for educators to keep the course current while providing enough exposure to the various research areas. An integration of journal club ideology to a traditional lecture-based course offers a powerful alternative, simultaneously focusing on nanoscience fundamentals and methods. Among its multitude of benefits, journal club integration offers students a unique responsibility to exercise their higher level learning skills, namely, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of knowledge. This paper discusses how the journal club ideology was incorporated into an Introduction to Nanotechnology course for senior undergraduate and graduate students. Key details of the journal club model adoption are included to prompt such an implementation for courses dealing with similar emerging fields. The integration resulted in a more engaging senior-level engineering course that was student-driven and enforced independent learning.


A journal club consists of a group of students and faculty meeting to share and discuss relevant scientific journal articles based on a selected topic. In its simplest form, students select, summarize and present journal articles to prompt further discussions. In the process, students develop the necessary skills to critically review literature and at the same time remain current with the developments in the field.1 This approach is particularly suitable for emerging fields that are being actively researched.2 Traditional courses that offer insight into these fields are often challenging for instructors due to the inherent nature of the content. The textbooks and content developed for a course focusing on these frontier fields become quickly outdated. Applying the journal club ideology to these courses can dramatically enhance the course content and lead to an engaging experience for the students. One such field is the research of nanomaterials for mechanical, electrical, chemical, thermal and optical applications.

The current progress in nanotechnology indicates its tremendous potential to transform material science.3,4 In order to expose undergraduates to the fast growing field of nanotechnology, a new course was developed as an elective for seniors and graduate students at Rowan University. There have been numerous similar courses developed to address this topic in a multitude of ways, therefore this effort is in no way a novel endeavor. There are nanotechnology courses that involve students writing research summaries 5 and courses that incorporate various hands-on activities6,7, among others.8-11 This course in particular was designed with two goals in mind; one was to expose students to nanotechnology and the other to familiarize them to literature reviewing skills. Therefore, the primary learning objective of the course was to enable students to read nanotechnology related journal articles and provide critical feedback on methods, results and impact.

Bakrania, S. (2010, June), Integration Of Journal Club Ideology Into A Nanotechnology Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16331

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