June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
There are growing industry demands for engineers to obtain a background in both technical skills and understanding social/global impacts. In a third-year Materials Science course, a module series introduced the responsibility of engineers to consider the life cycle of the products/processes they design. The course-long module series can be divided into four stand-alone modules that build on each other. The first module required students to bring to class with them a week’s worth of their own trash to discuss the impact their personal waste contribution has on a regional scale. This module was enhanced based on student and instructor feedback from a first implementation offered in Fall 2017. This second module took students to a city-wide recycling processing center to observe the sorting processes that materials undergo once they are discarded. Through this field trip, students were able to recognize some of the challenges of current waste disposal and recycling practices. The third module welcomed a guest expert to share experiences with the global impact of waste disposal and the relative privileges that persist in developed countries. The fourth module asked students to critically assess materials for use in a commercial product, inspired by the regional and global challenges they were previously exposed to in the course. Following each activity, students completed a reflective assessment to track their understanding of the impact that their future engineering roles might play. From the compiled results, the student response to the modules was positive, leaving many students empowered, curious, and excited. The module series accomplished the goal of helping students be more prepared in understanding their role in designing materials with their end-use in mind, thus infusing technical and social engineering skill sets.
Przestrzelski, B., & Lord, S. M., & Camacho, M. M. (2019, June), Trash Teachings: How a Materials Science Module Series about Waste can Empower Engineering Students to be More Sociotechnically Responsible Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33465
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