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June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Work-in-Progress: Development of an Interdisciplinary MOOC that Introduces the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering
This Work-in-Progress paper describes the development of an interdisciplinary course, Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering, for the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) environment, focused on exploring the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering and related global challenges. This course, based on an on-ground course offered at Arizona State University (ASU), is designed to also help students to develop the interdisciplinary systems perspective and entrepreneurial mindset they need to solve the complex global challenges presented. This course fuses engineering and the social sciences, asking students to explore the interactions between society and technology including the influences of human behavior, culture, ethics, and policy. The on-ground version of the course is currently offered to engineering students in the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program at ASU. Developing this MOOC involved re-designing and re-imagining the on-ground active learning, discussion-based course to address the challenges and opportunities of a broader audience in an online environment.
The MOOC introduces global challenges related to the four themes represented in the NAE’s 21st century engineering vision: “Continuation of life on the planet, making our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful” . Within each theme (Sustainability, Health, Security, and Joy of Living), the course provides students with opportunities to actively explore specific challenges facing developing and developed communities as well as current research efforts that aim to address some of these challenges. Several different types of activities have been designed to help students explore the social, cultural, political, economic, ethical, and environmental factors that could affect the development and implementation of new technologies to address the challenges. Examples of such activities include case study discussions, role-play based simulations, debate, design, pros and cons lists, mind mapping, and choose your own adventure. Expert talks feature faculty members from various institutions talking about their research work related to different challenges within each theme.Throughout the course, students also work on a project involving Entrepreneurially-Minded-Learning (EML), where they identify an opportunity to create value related to one or more of the four themes introduced, perform needs analysis, imagine and develop a futuristic solution to address the needs, and consider the social implications of their solution if it were developed and implemented. To wrap up the course, students are provided with opportunities to identify desired competencies needed to tackle the challenges, reflect on their own personal interests and goals, and identify next steps they will take toward achieving their goals.
This paper will describe the course goals, structure, and design, focusing on the aforementioned fusion of engineering with fields outside the discipline, which helps cultivate a systems perspective of the Grand Challenges and the engineering solutions that address them. It will also include insights gained from its design, development, and initial offering, and offer recommendations for future work.
References  C.D. Mote, Jr., Realizing the vision of the Grand Challenges for Engineering depends on the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, 53rd National Academy of Engineering annual meeting, Oct 8, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.nae.edu/175289/Realizing-the-Vision-of-the-Grand-Challenges-for-Engineering-Depends-on-the-Grand-Challenges-Scholars-Program
Zhu, H., & Trowbridge, A., & Roter, J. L. (2020, June), WIP: Development of an Interdisciplinary MOOC that Introduces the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35533
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