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Student Academic Development Through Prescribed Undergraduate Projects

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Mechanics and the Internet

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1103.1 - 13.1103.24

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Paper Authors


Shahnam Navaee Georgia Southern University

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Shahnam Navaee is the Associate Dean of Student and Academic Programs in the College of Science & Technology and Professor of Engineering Studies at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Navaee received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1980 and 1983 and his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University in 1989.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Student Academic Development through Prescribed Undergraduate Projects


In this paper a methodology for enhancing the academic development of sophomore-level engineering and engineering technology students using undergraduate projects is outlined and discussed. The specific sample project presented in the paper involves the development of MATLAB script files and LabVIEW Virtual Instruments (VIs) for solving several Engineering Mechanics problems. The development of the solution for these problems involves the utilization of a number of valuable programming tools and powerful techniques. The selected students will be guided to write a proposal to seek funding for the project through the College Office of Undergraduate Research (COUR) at the author’s institution. The requested funds will be used to financially support the students during the summer. At the conclusion of the project the students are required to document their work in a concise and well written report in a publishable format. The students are also expected to present their project orally in an annual COUR Symposium held on campus, as well as in other off-campus venues. The selected project benefits each involved student in a variety of ways. A discussion will be incorporated in the paper to clearly establish the contribution of each component of the project in terms of the academic development of students and the overall value of the project. Included in the paper will also be examples of MATLAB script files and LabVIEW Virtual Instruments the students have to develop in this project. These examples clearly establish the utility and purpose of the proposed activity.

I. Introduction

This paper outlines a procedure which utilizes MATLAB and LabVIEW to contribute to the academic development of sophomore-level engineering and engineering technology students. The specific sample project included in this paper is mainly geared for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in civil, mechanical, or aerospace engineering. Similar projects can easily be designed for students pursuing other engineering fields.

To start this pilot project, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering Technology student was selected in the spring of 2008 to develop programs for analyzing beams. With the help from the author of the paper, the student has written and submitted a proposal to the College Office of Undergraduate Research (COUR) to secure the funding needed to undertake this project. The COUR office is housed in the College of Science and Technology at the author’s institution. The requested funding is for supporting the student during two months (9 weeks) in the summer of 2008, while he works on developing the programs needed for the project. The selected student has already taken Statics and a programming course in MATLAB, and is currently enrolled in Strength of Materials. The guidance and support material for LabVIEW utilization will be provided by the author, since the student does not have a knowledge of this software tool. The proposed project involves the development of programs for problems similar to ones included in this paper. The sample programs included in the paper illustrate how various powerful computing tools and programming features of MATLAB and LabVIEW can be

Navaee, S. (2008, June), Student Academic Development Through Prescribed Undergraduate Projects Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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