June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.1389.1 - 24.1389.10
Works in Progress: Impact of First-Year Micro-/Nano- Technology Research Project Course on Future Research and Graduate/Professional School InvolvementThe first-year engineering program provides honors students with the option to undertake aresearch and development design project with a focus on lab-on-a-chip (LOC) andnanotechnology applications. This project is an alternative to a robot design-build course whichhas a focus on mechanical engineering and computer programming. This paper will ask theevidence-based practice question: “Does a research and development design project courseinfluence a student’s decision to become involved in future research projects and pursue highereducation in the form of graduate and professional school?” We hypothesize that a significantlygreater percentage of the research project course alumni will be involved in various researchroles and activities and pursue higher education as compared to the alumni from the robot designcourse. To measure future research involvement, alumni who have completed the first-yearengineering honors program within the past four years are being surveyed to quantify theirinvolvement in various research roles and activities, including undergraduate research,presentations at technical forums and conferences, research and development internships, as wellas planned participation in graduate or professional school. As LOCs and nanotechnology havemany applications in medicine, many students that enroll in this course are biomedicalengineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering majors.This class prepares students for research by developing necessary skills in several key areas.Highlights of the course include a technical literature review, computational fluid dynamics,development of experimental protocol, and development and testing of a thesis experimentally.Students are exposed to the full methodology of research design, including the development,manufacturing, and testing of an LOC device. The course culminates with a judged poster forumand technical slideshow presentation of the students’ research and results. In contrast, thestudents who take the robot design-build course are instructed in various aspects of mechanicaldesign, which includes drive trains, motor performance, statics, and strength of materials. Theobjective is to create an autonomous robot which students program to complete specific tasks ona competition course. Both options have recently switched to an inverted classroom pedagogicalmodel in which the content remains the same, but each instructional day is divided into twoparts: preparation and application. The preparation is directed at the lower Bloom’s Taxonomylevels, and the application targets the upper Bloom’s Taxonomy levels.This rigorous research and development project course provides students with an understandingof the research process and develops the necessary skill sets and enthusiasm that encouragesinvolvement in research as an undergraduate and beyond. This may be in part explained by thestudents’ initial interest in research as demonstrated by enrolling in a research project course(which will be controlled for), as well as by the skill sets developed while taking the researchproject course. This study is currently in progress but will be completed at the end of the autumn2013 academic term. The survey is being sent out to approximately 1800 alumni of the first-yearengineering honors program.
Spang, M. T., & Strickland, A., & Grzybowski, D. M. (2014, June), Work in Progress: Impact of First-Year Micro-/Nano-Technology Research Project Course on Future Research and Graduate/Professional School Involvement Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23322
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