New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
In 2013, University College London was awarded an EPSRC (United Kingdom’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) “Frontier Engineering” Grant to form a multi-disciplinary Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering. The overarching vision of the center is to use nature as a guiding platform to seek potentially transformative solutions to engineering grand challenges, such as sustainable energy and clean water. Beyond biomimicry, this nature-inspired approach seeks to reveal fundamental mechanisms in the natural world that underlie desirable properties such as scalability, efficiency or robustness, and can be applied in a broader context to solve similar problems in engineering.
To complement the new research center, a new senior undergraduate and Master’s level elective course on Nature Inspired Chemical Engineering was designed, developed, and taught by Professor Marc-Olivier Coppens of University College London and Professor Daniel Lepek of The Cooper Union. One of the main learning objectives of the course was to stimulate creative thought in leveraging natural phenomena to solve chemical engineering problems. This was achieved by using a variety of active learning and pedagogical techniques such as, annotated textbook readings of current journal publications, oral presentations highlighting the balance between nature and technology, laboratory demonstrations, and a semester-long group project motivated by student interest in nature and chemical engineering.
In this paper, the opportunities and challenges associated with developing a new course in an emerging multidisciplinary research area will be addressed. In addition, suggestions for best practices in course development will be provided for instructors who seek to develop similar new research-based elective courses.
Lepek, D., & Coppens, M. (2016, June), Nature-Inspired Chemical Engineering: Course Development in an Emerging Research Area Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25778
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: © 2016 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