June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.972.1 - 12.972.15
Introducing Multidisciplinary Novel Content through Laboratory Exercises on Real World Applications
Robi Polikar1, Ravi P. Ramachandran1, Linda M. Head1 and Maria Tahamont2 1 Electrical and Comp. Eng, 2Biological Sciences, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ.
Abstract: One of the primary missions of any engineering program is to provide a well-rounded education that combines all fundamental concepts of the given area with an adequate exposure to relevant contemporary areas. However, the exponentially growing body of knowledge – particularly in emerging areas of engineering sciences – makes this mission an increasingly challenging proposition. More novel content from emerging areas need to be integrated into the curriculum to ensure that our students can be successful in today’s competitive job market. On the other hand, the economic and political realities of today’s academic environment restrict the number of credits a program can require for degree completion. The challenge, then, is to be able to provide as much meaningful and cohesive exposure to emerging / contemporary areas without sacrificing the fundamental background while keeping the credit count minimally effected, or preferably, unchanged.
We have previously reported the preliminary assessment of our proposed approach, which consists of reconfiguring a time-honored teaching tool to integrate novel content into existing curriculum. We developed laboratory exercises distributed over the entire four year curriculum, which were integrated into existing core and elective courses. The exercises were designed to provide multidisciplinary novel content in emerging areas that relate to focus areas of existing courses. In our implementation, we use bioengineering/biotechnology (BME) as the multidisciplinary emerging topic area, and electrical/computer engineering (ECE) as the core curriculum. Since our initial report two years ago, which was based on a couple of experiments, we have developed several new laboratory exercises, and more importantly followed students who went through the four years of integrated BME content. In this paper, we present our implementation and assessment details, and some surprising outcomes we have observed since our previous preliminary assessment. We discuss many advantages, but also some potential pitfalls of this approach, along with lessons learned along the way.
Thanks to increased world-wide support to research and development, there has been a tremendous growth in the scientific and engineering body of knowledge. Such knowledge allows us to solve increasingly challenging and complex problems that cross the boundaries of traditional disciplines. An efficient solution of such problems, however, requires the synergistic combination of expertise in multiple areas. Consequently, students graduating from today’s engineering programs can no longer be competitive in tomorrow’s job market, by having a strong background only in their specific chosen areas of study. They need reasonably adequate exposure and background in relevant emerging areas as well. Only then, they will be equipped with the necessary skills to quickly acquire expertise in a new area demanded by their current position. As engineering educators, our challenge is to be able to provide them with an
Polikar, R., & Ramachandran, R., & Head, L., & Tahamont, M. (2007, June), Introducing Multidisciplinary Novel Content Through Laboratory Exercises On Real World Applications Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1730
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