Asee peer logo

The iCollaborate MSE Project

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1464.1 - 22.1464.17



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kathleen L. Kitto Western Washington University

visit author page

Kathleen L. Kitto is currently the Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and Technology and Professor of Engineering Technology at Western Washington University. Professor Kitto has served WWU for more than 20 years and has played a number of roles within the university including eight years as Chair of the Engineering Technology Department. She has been actively involved in the creation of an Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC) and their new minor in Materials Science at Western. She recently became the Director of AMSEC. She is also plays a role in the college’s efforts to establish a technology and innovation center (TDC) in Bellingham. She was awarded an NSF ADVANCE Catalyst grant (along with co-PIs Norman and Guenter-Schlesinger) to promote the advancement, retention, recruitment of women in STEM disciplines at Western. In 2010, she received Western Washington University’s Diversity Achievement Award, the highest honor for diversity achievements at WWU. Also in 2010, PIs Kitto and Jusak were awarded a CCLI grant to develop applications and modules for materials engineering and science education.

She has published more than 50 papers and given presentations at numerous conferences, co-authored three text books, written an invited book chapter and several lab manuals. She is a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society of Engineering Education, the Materials Research Society and ASM International. Her primary research interests are in finite element analysis, acoustic properties of materials, and curriculum design for materials education.

visit author page

author page

Debra S. Jusak Western Washington University

Download Paper |


The iCollaborate MSE ProjectThe overall objectives of the research proposed in the iCollaborate MSE [Materials Science andEngineering] project are to measure if improvements in student learning outcomes, studentengagement, and successful course completion are possible if the structure in basic materialsengineering courses are transformed from primarily deductive practice to an InformationCommunication Technology (ICT) enabled inductive teaching and learning environment. Thespecific innovations that are proposed in the project are the development of MSE educationapplications for the iPod Touch that are designed to facilitate and support collaborative learningopportunities which target specific student learning objectives which are known to bechallenging for many students in MSE courses. It is hoped that the combination of specificlearning objective targets, completed in collaborative groups, and supported by conceptuallycontained data, visuals, audio, and information from the iPod Touch, will lead to specificimprovements in learning outcomes for students.The support of classroom environments with computer technology is not new, nor is the idea thatdistributed cognition improves learning. However, the combination of a collaborativeenvironment with a multi-touch, multi-functional, group “personalizable” device affords newopportunities to stimulate cognitive development to enhance student outcomes. The devices arepopular with students and the multi-touch features in the interface are easy to use, so the barriersbetween the use of the device and students are negligible. The applications written for the iPodTouch will make it easy for each group to switch among peer learning vocabulary and conceptquestions, exploration of materials properties, recall type self-quizzes or web investigations. Inaddition, the materials within the applications will be conceptually contained so that whileexploration and higher order connections are still encouraged, the students will not beoverwhelmed or have no contextual basis for judgments. The multi-media format of the iPodTouch will also allow applications that accommodate different student learning styles. One of thegrand challenges of engineering (National Academy of Engineering) is to advance personalizedinstruction/learning methods and there is no reason that collaborative groups should not be ableto customize their own learning environments. Individual groups can continue theirdevelopment outside scheduled class time since the applications will allow the groups to tracktheir own progress and new applications can be added to individual devices.But, important research questions remain. Are the new learn anywhere, multi-touch, multi-mediadevices going to change education in ways yet to be understood just as PCs and the internet haveand continue to do so? What role will these smart, multi-touch devices play in distributedcognition? Can the devices facilitate collaborative learning? Will learning outcomes be differentfor the collaborative groups using these smart devices? Will their use engage students in newways? What is the cognitive impact engendered of these devices in learning activities? Thispaper is intended as an overview of the iCollaborate MSE project, its theoretical foundationwhich is based upon engineering education research, and the work completed thus far. TheNational Science Foundation is providing funding for the project (NSF CCLI Project XXXXX).  

Kitto, K. L., & Jusak, D. S. (2011, June), The iCollaborate MSE Project Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18985

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015