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Special Interest Section of a Core Mechanical Engineering Course – Biomaterial Emphasis of an Introduction to Materials Course

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 3

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Margaret Pinnell University of Dayton

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Dr. Margaret Pinnell is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Development in the school of engineering and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Dayton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate materials related courses including Introduction to Materials, Materials Laboratory, Engineering Innovation, Biomaterials and Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology (ETHOS). She was director of the (Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning) for approximately ten years. She has incorporated service-learning projects into her classes and laboratories since she started teaching in 2000. Her research interests include community engaged learning and pedagogy, K-12 outreach, biomaterials and materials testing and analysis.

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The University is part of the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) which aims to instill the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students through a collaboration among 14 colleges and universities across the US. To facilitate this, KEEN offers a variety of resource to individual engineering faculty as well as its network institutions. One such program offered by the University is the KEEN Faculty Fellows Program. The objective of this program is to help engineering faculty understand innovative teaching strategies such as active and collaborative learning (ACL), project/problem based learning (PBL) and entrepreneurially minded learning (EML) and then use this information to modify a course or to create a new course. This paper will describe the modification of a core mechanical engineering course, Introduction to Materials, to have a biomaterial focus, to employ ACL/PBL techniques and to include project based learning modules aimed at fostering the entrepreneurial mindset in the students. Because this is a core mechanical engineering course, the primary learning objectives for the Introduction to Materials course had to be met through this modified course offering. The efficacy of this modified course in comparison to the traditional Introduction to Materials course was assessed by comparing the final exam scores with those of a control group. Additionally, the students’ perception of their learning was captured through student feedback forms facilitated at the conclusion of each of the project based learning modules as well as at the conclusion of the semester. Results from the assessments suggest that the modules did not negatively affect the overall learning of the students as measured by their performance on a common, cumulative final exam. Students generally liked the opportunity to apply their knowledge to real world problems that were thematically centered on the biomedical industry and to be able to work in teams.

Pinnell, M. (2016, June), Special Interest Section of a Core Mechanical Engineering Course – Biomaterial Emphasis of an Introduction to Materials Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25857

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