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Introducing Faculty Research to Undergraduate Engineering Students: Enhancing Active Cooperative Learning

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Graduate Education and Undergraduate Research-related Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.841.1 - 25.841.9



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Paper Authors


Nina Robson Texas A&M University

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Nina Robson is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Department at Texas A&M University and an Assistant Researcher in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of California, Irvine.

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Joseph A. Morgan Texas A&M University

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Joseph A. Morgan has more than 20 years of military and industry experience in electronics and telecommunications systems engineering. He joined the Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution Department in 1989 and has served as the Program Director of the Electronics and Telecommunications programs and as the Associate Department Head for Operations. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering (1975) from California State University, Sacramento, and his M.S. (1980) and D.E. (1983) degrees in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University. His education and research interests include project management, innovation and entrepreneurship, and embedded product/system development.

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Multidisciplinary Engineering Projects: Enhancing Active Cooperative Learning ETD  IT/IET  Interest  Group Abstract Recently, there has been a shift from using lecture-based teaching methods in undergraduate engineering courses to using more learner-centered teaching approaches. Inductive teaching methods come in many forms, including discovery learning, inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, case-based teaching and just-in-time teaching. However, research into these methods has mainly involved studies on each of these approaches separately. Few studies have examined these methods where two or more are used collectively in classes. This paper discusses the importance of multidisciplinary projects and team environments, focusing on student-centered approaches, such as active cooperative learning. In the summer of 2012, we assembled a team of students from the XXX and XXX program within XXX Department at XXX University and presented them with a challenge. The challenge was to develop a low-cost “standardized” vehicle, capable of supporting customization and adaptation to meet many divergent needs. The students were required to work as a team and develop a collective solution. The instructors from both programs provided weekly feedback in response to the students’ efforts, but offered little direction before or during those efforts. The multidisciplinary team environment naturally integrated features of project-based learning, wherein certain students applied previously acquired knowledge, with problem-based learning, wherein the students had not previously received formal instruction in the necessary background material and therefore stimulating cooperative work between the students from XX and XX programs. The influence of the guided discovery learning, characterized by minimum guidance provided by the instructors and the trial and error consequently required by students, was also used as a feature/tool in that learning process. In the end, the paper presents some of the student perceptions of this “hybrid” teaching method, discusses lessons learned during the process and plans for continuing the multidisciplinary activities in the future.

Robson, N., & Morgan, J. A. (2012, June), Introducing Faculty Research to Undergraduate Engineering Students: Enhancing Active Cooperative Learning Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21598

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