Share the Future IV
Writing More Effective Engineering Education Proposals Workshop


Reading #1: Goals and Objectives

The goal of the project is to develop a mechanism that will enhance the education of engineering undergraduates at the University of _______ by adding laboratory components to courses in the ME curriculum. Specific objectives are (1) to enhance the undergraduate education of ME students through the development and implementation of a comprehensive thermal laboratory that is linked to the department’s curriculum to provide practical extensions to classroom lectures in thermodynamics and heat transfer, (2) to familiarize students with the practice and equipment that are typically used in industry while promoting alliances with the industrial community, (3) to provide students an experiences in the design of educational material in order to excite them to pursue graduate studies and possibly a career in academia, and (4) to encourage collaboration between faculty that will enhance the learning experience of undergraduate engineering students.

Reading # 2: Rationale

Micro technologies, such as microelectronics and opto-electronics, have become a major direction in research funding and have had an important impact in the commercial market. In an effort to expose students to these technologies, higher education institutions have successfully implemented micro technology programs for undergraduate and graduate student curriculum [1-5]. A common theme in these programs is a practical hands-on experience with fabrication techniques to reinforce theoretical and design principles presented in the lecture material. This practical experience provides students a more complete understanding of the fabricated micro technology, and hi-tech industries have access to engineers and scientists with both a theoretical and a practical background in their field. The importance of this practical experience in micro technology for undergraduate students is the principle motivation for this proposal.

Currently at the University of ______ there is no curriculum program that address micro technology. The faculty has several research programs focusing on micro technology and related fields. Several local companies and government agencies support micro technology related programs. Thus there is a need for a curriculum in micro technology that gives students practical experience in design, fabrication, and testing to augment the lectures on concepts and theory.

Reading #3: Evaluation Plan

The results of the project will be evaluated in several ways. First, students will be surveyed at the end of the semester on the content, organization, continuity of the topics, and the level of difficulty. Since the course initially will be dual-listed as a synthesis course, many graduate students also will take the course. Due to the urban setting of the University of ______, a majority of these students will be practicing full-time engineers, and they will be asked about the appropriateness of the content and its relevancy in their jobs.

Second the professors in the senior design course will be asked to judge the students’ ability to design digital circuits. While the projects in this class focus on different application areas, the implementations frequently involve digital circuits. The current course instructors have taught the course for several years and are qualified to compare the students’ abilities in designing and implementing the digital circuit to those of earlier students.

Reading #4: Dissemination Plan

The laboratory material developed in this project will be made be available to anyone who is interested in this topic or to any instructor who wishes to adopt a similar approach in his or her course. The complete laboratory experiments will be put on the PI’s web page and thus can be accessed by any institution interested in adopting any part of the materials. The results also will be summarized and presented in an education-oriented conference or workshop, and be documented and reported in educational journals, such as the IEEE Transaction on Education.


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