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Use of Mixed Reality Tools in Introductory Materials Science Courses

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 3

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Paper Authors


Bilal Mansoor Texas A&M University at Qatar

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Dr. Mansoor’s focus is on integrating technology driven smart devices into engineering education. His topics of interests include the use of smart clickers and virtual reality tools in teaching. His materials science research focuses on materials processing and developing fundamental structure-property-processing relationships of various lightweight materials.

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Mustapha Jamal Makki Texas A&M University at Qatar

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Mustapha Makki is a research associate at Texas A&M University at Qatar. He received his bachelor degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. During his undergraduate research, he worked on a telemetry system to acquire electrocardiograms waveform and analyze it using an algorithm developed to detect cardiac abnormalities in patients. He received his master's degree from the American University of Beirut where he worked on experimental characterization and physical-based modelling of semi-crystalline polymers. His current work deals with introducing virtual and mixed reality tools to promote active learning in materials science and engineering courses.

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Dena Al-Thani Hamad bin Khalifa University

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Dr Dena is currently an assistant professor at Hamad bin Khalifa University. Her academic and research vocation is to explore and demonstrate how HCI as a field of applied inquiry can contribute to building a more inclusive society. Her research interest includes assistive technology, accessibility, inclusive design, information seeking and usability studies. She is an associate member of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.

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Mental visualization and manipulation of three-dimensional structural objects often present a major challenge that students face when learning new concepts in introductory material science courses. Students must possess a profound and intuitive understanding of such abstract 3D concepts to fully understand the fundamental interplay between structure and properties of different materials. In a traditional classroom setting, educators rely heavily on conventional methods such as sketching, or video animations etc., to help students visualize such complex objects. While some students may have the innate nature to comfortably visualize 3D imageries, others may need several hours of practicing.

Mixed reality tools provide capabilities to view 3D objects as holograms as an overlay in usual classroom settings. Unlike virtual reality, users are not completely shut off from their environment instead, instead they view their environment normally but with an overlay of a digital world. The virtual learning as a result may engage a student fully, allowing him/her to be actively involved in the learning process instead of being a mere passive observer. Therefore, utilizing mixed reality tools and applications in introductory materials science courses presents educators with an opportunity to help students train their visuospatial abilities and improve their understanding of the 3D, complex material science concepts. The main objective of this ongoing work is to provide an innovative and interactive method to teach students threshold materials science concepts including miller indices and crystal structures. A case study is currently being carried out to implement the use of mixed reality systems in teaching these threshold concepts. The students will have full control over mixed reality 3D holograms, meaning: they can move them, scale them up or down, and, rotate them to look at fully explore them. We have developed a methodology to baseline the visuospatial skills of students. We will present our results on the effectiveness of these mixed reality tools in improving students visuospatial skills and the overall learning experience.

Mansoor, B., & Makki, M. J., & Al-Thani, D. (2018, June), Use of Mixed Reality Tools in Introductory Materials Science Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31189

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