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Work-in-Progress: Towards the Development of a Model for Beneficial Use of Educational Technology through a Photovoltaics Engineering Website

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Computers in Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1495.1 - 25.1495.11



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Paper Authors


Katherine G. Nelson Arizona State University

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Katherine Nelson is in her fourth year of graduate studies at Arizona State University (ASU), working towards her Ph.D. in Engineering Education. She is currently a research assistant at the NSF and DOE co-sponsored Engineering Research Center on Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technology (QESST) at ASU. In this role, she is focusing her attentions on development of both effective and affective curricular tools to aid post-secondary students' learning in solar energy/photovoltaics engineering.

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Jenefer Husman Arizona State University

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Refika Koseler


Stuart Graham Bowden Arizona State University

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Stuart Bowden received his Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 1996 for work on static concentrators using silicon solar cells. Following graduation, he transferred the buried contact solar cell technology from UNSW to Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT). In 1998, he joined the Inter-University Micro Electronics Centre (IMEC) in Belgium, where he demonstrated rear surface passivation of multicrystalline silicon wafers using boron diffusions and inversion layers created by silicon nitride. In 2001, he joined Georgia Institute of Technology, where he worked on molecular beam epitaxy and the characterization of interface states in a variety of oxide materials. From 2004 to 2008, he led the effort at the Institute of Energy Conversion at the University of Delaware, on the development of advanced silicon solar cell structures based around super-passivation and induced junctions.
Bowden has extensive experience in the characterization of silicon materials for photovoltaic applications. In 2005, he was awarded an R&D 100 award for his contributions to the quasi-steady-state photoconductance system that is manufactured by Sinton Consulting. He is also the author of the Photovoltaics CD-ROM ( that has been used extensively as an educational tool in industry and academia throughout the world. Bowden presently heads up the silicon section of Arizona State University's solar power laboratory (

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Creating a model for beneficial use of educational technology through a photovoltaics engineering websitePhotovoltaics (PV) engineering is an emerging field within the schools of engineering. As a result, thereis a need to outline curricula; prioritize the knowledge and skills students’ need to acquire beforeentering their profession or conducting independent research, and outline possible academic andprofessional pathways. To meet these needs, additional learning resources need to be developed forstudents to utilize in order to effectively engage in the content. The purpose of this paper is to discussan established photovoltaics education resource,, as a model and prototype for futureonline engineering educational resources.With 3000 hits per day, engages learners in PV across the globe at a post-secondarycontent level. The authors of the site have recently enlisted educational and cognitive psychologist tohelp develop prompts that aid learners in metacognition, and enhance content to limit cognitive load.Limiting cognitive load allows users to maximize their cognitive resources. Metacognitive prompts areeffective at triggering students’ monitoring of their own comprehension, allowing students to bettermanage their own learning.Although these improvements can support better user experience, leveraging other facets ofeducational technology will enhance e-learning on Educational technology utilizes andtakes advantage of information technology in such a way that it fundamentally changes and dramaticallyimproves the effectiveness of learning. For example, educational technology tools provide a solidframework to design and organize curriculum; and can create a platform where learners can interactand share their ideas across the globe. We argue that strategic inclusion of many forms of media (suchas audio and video media) would further enhance the pveducation learning experience.We intend to provide a review of educational technology literature in describing existing educationaltechnology tools capable of helping improve engineering learning, determine best practices forassessment of these tools, and establish a foundation of proper organization and management ofcontent and curriculum in web-based learning settings. This work will use, as anexample. The paper will describe specific enhancements to the website’s design over the past threeyears. We contend that through this process the website can encourage the proliferation of effectivelearning of PV across the globe, and serve as a foundation for other new and well establishedengineering domains beginning to embrace e-learning technology.

Nelson, K. G., & Husman, J., & Koseler, R., & Bowden, S. G. (2012, June), Work-in-Progress: Towards the Development of a Model for Beneficial Use of Educational Technology through a Photovoltaics Engineering Website Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22252

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