Effect of Student-Led Undergraduate Research Experience on Learning and Attitudes —A Practice in An Introductory Materials Science Course
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Of the fourteen grand challenges unveiled by the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, at least half require design and development of new engineering materials. It is therefore no surprise that materials science and engineering courses are staples of most engineering undergraduate curricula. Unfortunately, traditional content-based approaches to teaching introductory materials science are based on presenting large collections of facts and ideas to students, without strong emphasis on organizing and applying those facts and ideas. Therefore, students usually fail organize the vast collection of facts, concepts and ideas into cognitive structures that enable them to apply the content to real-word problems with a high level of expertise. Recently, we redesigned some sections of the introductory materials science course required for all sophomore mechanical, industrial and nuclear engineering majors at Texas A & M University using student-active pedagogies and cooperative learning theories. The element of the redesign introduces undergraduate research projects proposed and implemented by student teams under the supervision of the instructors as a part of the course curriculum. Given the new approach, the key question is the degree to which the change has altered student learning and attitudes. This paper presents preliminary findings on effectiveness of this redesign. © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education.
author list (cited authors)
Zhou, Y., Arroyave, R., & Radovic, M.