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SustainCity – A Interactive Virtual Reality Game Promoting Engineering Design in Pre-engineering Curriculum

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1222.1 - 25.1222.9



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Paper Authors


Ying Tang Rowan University

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Ying Tang received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Northeastern University, P. R. China, in 1996 and 1998, respectively, and Ph.D. degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J., in 2001. She is currently an Associate Professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rowan University. Her research interests include virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and modeling and scheduling of computer-integrated systems. Tang has led or participated in several research and education projects funded by National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Navy, the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, and industry firms. Her work has resulted in more than 60 journal and conference papers and book chapters. Tang is very active in adapting and developing pedagogical methods and materials to enhance engineering education. Her most recent educational research includes the collaboration with Tennessee State University and local high schools to infuse cyber-infrastructure learning experience into the pre-engineering and technology-based classrooms, and the collaboration with community colleges to develop interactive games in empowering students with engineering literacy and problem-solving.

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Sachin Shetty Tennessee State University

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Sachin Shetty received the B.E. degree in computer engineering from Mumbai University, India, in 1998, M.S. in computer science from University of Toledo and Ph.D. in modeling and simulation from Old Dominion University in 2007. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Tennessee State University. His area of competency includes theoretical and experimental research in network protocols design, security algorithms, and system implementation of cognitive radio networks, and wireless sensor networks. He has authored and coauthored more than 30 technical refereed and non-refereed papers in various conferences, international journal articles, and book chapters in research and pedagogical techniques

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Kauser Jahan Rowan University


S. Keith Hargrove Tennessee State University

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S. Keith Hargrove, serves as Dean of the College of Engineering, Technology & Computer Science. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from TSU, M.S. from the Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, Mo., and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He has worked for General Electric, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, NIST, Oak Ridge Laboratories, and General Motors. He is an Associate Member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Institute of Industrial Engineers, ASEE, and the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers. He is also a member of the Tennessee Academy of Science, and has current research interests in virtual and augmented reality, advanced manufacturing systems, systems engineering and management, and minority engineering education.

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John P. Henry

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SustainCity –A Interactive Virtual Reality Game Promoting Engineering Design in Pre- Engineering CurriculumABSTRACTA number of recent reports make it clear that the United States is losing ground on key indicators of innovation and progressbecause of its poor performance in teaching math and science. Pre-college education, in particular, is lagging well behind itsmandate to education all children to higher standards especially in areas that prepare students for science, technology,engineering, and mathematic. Therefore, developing educational practices and settings in our K-12 classroom becomes extremelyimportant; especially the ones that promote 21st century skills and help learners build up their “habit of mind” for scientificreasoning and inquiry.Computing has made possible profound leaps of innovations and imagination, resulting in fundamentally new ways of scienceand engineering practice. This paradigm shift has a significant impact on the skills needed for a diverse science and engineeringworkforce who can bring the power of computing-supported problem-solving to an expanded field of endeavors. However, oureducation has not kept pace with this evolution, especially at the K-12 level.Environmental sustainability has become increasingly prevalent in teaching, valued as not only a motivator for responsiblebehavior, but also a wonderful context for students to be engaged in developing 21st century skills for the challenges ofsustainable future.Inspired by these general remarks, this paper presents a scaffold approach that develops and implements a virtual reality (VR)game system, called SustainCity, to infuse cyberinfrastructure (CI) learning experiences into classrooms of secondary education.In particular, a series of project-based VR games of future sustainable city design is being developed to engage pre-engineeringstudents in CI-enhanced and -enabled science and engineering discovery. Our design explores way beyond the scope of other,commercial games, such as the GreenCity and the Mobility, with the following unique aspects: (a) visual modeling and simulationtools in the games provide insights into scientific concepts and phenomena, and help analyze data in a more visual and interactiveway; (b) the networked educational environment transcends the boundaries of school-based education to leverage learning takingplace anytime and anywhere, and promotes learning through collaboration; (c) metacognitive strategies and project-based learningadvance learners’ strategic thinking and enhance their social, methodological and professional competence for a broaderperspective on design; and (d) each game module is self-contained with a focus on particular engineering problem-solving toimprove the city infrastructure, so it can be used as stand-alone contributions to a typical science, technology-based, or pre-engineering course or used with other game modules in a coordinated manner. The overarching goal of the work is to providestudents an attractive and motivating environment where learning is no longer fragmented and de-contextualized, but crossesdisciplinary boundaries throughout aspects of everyday life. The rich metacognitive strategies embedded in the games will furtherpromote improved problem-solving skills. The detailed design and pedagogical strategies are discussed in the paper as a work inprogress.

Tang, Y., & Shetty, S., & Jahan, K., & Hargrove, S. K., & Henry, J. P. (2012, June), SustainCity – A Interactive Virtual Reality Game Promoting Engineering Design in Pre-engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21979

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