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The Differences Between Individual Project and Team Project Settings in an Interdisciplinary REU Site

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: REU 2

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Hua Li Texas A&M University, Kingsville Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Hua Li, an Associate Professor in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, is interested in sustainable manufacturing, renewable energy, sustainability assessment, and engineering education. Dr. Li has served as P.I. and Co-P.I. in different projects funded by NSF, DOEd, DHS, and HP, totaling more than 2.5 million dollars.

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Kai Jin Texas A&M University, Kingsville

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Dr. Kai Jin is a Professor of Industrial Engineering and Co-PI of the MERIT project. Her research interests include Sustainable Energy, Green Manufacturing, Quality Control, and Multi Objective Decision Making and Optimization as well as Engineering Education. She has served as PI and Co-PI in several DoEd, DHS, NRC, and industry sponsored projects.

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A Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site typically involves the principle investigators, faculty advisers, graduate students, and REU participants. Each involved personnel plays different roles in the REU site, and is closely related to the success of a REU site. In this paper, the authors analyzed and compared the impacts of each type of involved personnel in an interdisciplinary REU site on its success in two different settings: individual project and group project. The REU site adopts an interdisciplinary and balanced approach as a guiding principle and provide fundamental research training to REU participants in emerging energy technologies. The REU site is multidisciplinary in nature and focuses on different aspects of sustainable energy research, which is designed to provide initial orientation and training on how to conduct research, followed by a period of intensive research experience under the mentorship of a faculty and a graduate student. In the individual project setting, each REU participant works on his or her own research project mentored by a faculty adviser and a graduate student. In the group project setting, two REU students will work collaboratively under the same project with different individual research activities to achieve the same research objective. In both settings, in order to enhance REU participants’ understanding and to broaden their perspective of energy systems challenges, REU participants are given ample opportunities to share their research progress through formal and informal presentations. In both settings, each REU participant is required to submit an individual final report, to highlight their findings through a poster presentation, and to give an oral presentation at the final program ceremony. However, in the group project setting, each team of two REU participants are also required to submit a group report discussing the social impacts of their research project. Pre and post surveys were conducted together with a follow-up phone interview to gather REU participants’ feedback. The authors analyzed the survey and phone interview results from REU participants in both settings, and noticed some differences related to the impacts of different types of involved personnel in the REU site. The role of faculty advisers and graduate students becomes more important in the group project setting compared to individual project setting. Detailed results and discussion will be presented in this paper as well.

Li, H., & Jin, K. (2020, June), The Differences Between Individual Project and Team Project Settings in an Interdisciplinary REU Site Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35302

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