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Open Educational Resources in the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum: A Materials Science Case Study

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Practice II: Curricular Innovations

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Amir Behbahanian Utah State University

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I`m a Ph.D. Studen at the Mechanical and Aerospace engineering department of Utah State University, my main area of research is Nano Thermal Analysis. I also had the chance to be the TA of material science for two semesters.

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Erin L. Davis Utah State University


Nick A. Roberts Utah State University

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Prof. Roberts is an Assistant Professor at Utah State University where his research is focused on the fundamental study of material behavior, specifically thermophysical properties, and advanced thermal management. Prof. Roberts is also interested in engineering education, specifically on understanding the role of, adopting, and creating open educational resources for the engineering curriculum.

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Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, open licensed materials that can include text, media, or other digital formats and are created for teaching, learning, and supporting research. One of the obvious benefits to OER is a reduced cost to students. The skyrocketing cost of tuition and textbooks makes attending college impossible for a large percentage of Americans, predominantly within the underrepresented minority groups in engineering. OER has see more wide-spread adoption in the Humanities and Social Sciences due to the need for incorporating current topics or the use of classical works of fiction that are in the public domain. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields have seen a much lower rate of adoption. Part of this lower adoption rate can be attributed to the dependence on the peer review process and the tradition of lecturing from a known and standard textbook. This study is a first attempt at incorporating OER into an engineering course, specifically in a Sophomore level Materials Science course in a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering program. In a comparison across multiple sections with the use of both OER and a traditional textbook, the results show the same or improved student educational outcomes. The results also show higher student satisfaction and course quality through the significant cost savings and exposure to more resources that are relevant and more applicable to their future courses and expected roles in their future careers.

Behbahanian, A., & Davis, E. L., & Roberts, N. A. (2018, June), Open Educational Resources in the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum: A Materials Science Case Study Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30849

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