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The Development And Implementation Of A Nanotechnology Module Into A Large, Freshman Engineering Course

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Projects and Problems in First-Year Courses

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1192.1 - 14.1192.18



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Paper Authors

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Vinod Lohani Virginia Tech


Ganesh Balasubramanian Virginia Tech

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Ganesh Balasubramanian is a PhD student at the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech since Fall 2007. He received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University, India in May 2007. His doctoral research involves investigation of fluid flow and heat transfer processes across nanoscale interfaces using molecular simulations.

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Ishwar Puri Virginia Tech

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Ishwar K. Puri is Professor and Department Head of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) at Virginia Tech since 2004. He obtained his Ph.D. (1987), and M.S. (1984) degrees in Engineering Science (Applied Mechanics) from the University of California, San Diego after obtaining a B.Sc. (1982) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delhi. He was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 1990, was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenurein 1994, and to the rank of Professor in 1999. Puri is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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Scott Case Virginia Tech

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Dr. Scott W. Case completed his Ph.D. studies at Virginia Tech in 1996 and began working as a post doctoral research associate. He became a Research Assistant Professor in 1997, an Assistant Professor in 1998, and an Associate Professor in 2003. He was named Associate Department Head in Engineering Science and Mechanics in 2005. He and his co-authors have been recognized for best paper awards by the American Society for Composites and the American Composites Manufacturers Association. His teaching and research accomplishments resulted in him receiving the College of Engineering's Outstanding New Professor Award for 2002, being named a College of Engineering Faculty Fellow in 2004, and receiving the College of Engineering Dean's Award for Research in 2007.

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Roop Mahajan Virginia Tech

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

Development and Implementation of a Nanotechnology Module into a Large Freshman Engineering Course


The development and implementation of a nanotechnology learning module into a freshman engineering course in Virginia Tech’s large engineering program is discussed. This module, a part of a spiral theory based nanotechnology option that will be implemented in the curriculum of the Engineering Science Mechanics (ESM) department at Virginia Tech, was piloted with ~180 freshmen in Spring ’08. The pilot included a prior knowledge survey, a 40-minute in-class presentation on nanotechnology, a hands-on module involving analysis of nanoscale images, plotting of force functions at atomic scale using LABVIEW, and a post-module survey. Students’ misconceptions, observed through the prior knowledge survey, were addressed in the in-class presentation and hands-on activities. In order to make the in-class presentation interactive, students’ responses to a series of questions were collected in real time using Tablet PC and DyKnow technologies. Lessons learned in the Spring ’08 pilot were incorporated to modify the module which was successfully implemented in the entire freshman engineering class of ~1500 in Fall ’08. Questions administered as part of a course exit survey indicated that about 15% students expressed interest in pursuing a nanotechnology option and about 65% students thought that nanotechnology was relevant in their intended field of engineering. Additionally, the survey revealed that a significant number of students were not clear about the role of gravitational forces at the nanoscale. Students also indicated interest in observing an actual nanotechnology experiment in a lab. Our experience indicates that LABVIEW provides a good environment to implement hands-on activities on nanotechnology concepts. However, caution should be exercised in developing LABVIEW based nanotechnology activities and more emphasis should be placed on nanotechnology concepts as compared to LABVIEW concepts. A series of nanotechnology learning experiences at the higher levels of learning are under development for creating the nanotechnology option within the ESM using the concept of spiral curriculum. This work is supported by the NSF’s nanotechnology in undergraduate education (NUE) in engineering program.

Lohani, V., & Balasubramanian, G., & Puri, I., & Case, S., & Mahajan, R. (2009, June), The Development And Implementation Of A Nanotechnology Module Into A Large, Freshman Engineering Course Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5130

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