Goals and objectives

The goal of the proposed project is to create a consortium of academic institutions with varied strengths and needs, and use these as a test bed for a more wide-ranging implementation of the results of our previous work. As part of this process, faculty members at the partner institutions will be trained in how to develop appropriate teaching materials in a variety of courses revolving around the design and manufacturing of a chosen mechanism. In-depth evaluation of the resulting courses will be carried out to assess how well the students learn under this model. We will develop a standardized curriculum development model that could eventually be adopted nationwide.

ABET, the internationally recognized leader in assuring quality and standards in engineering and technology education, has defined high-level educational outcomes for programs seeking ABET accreditation. In our previous work, we developed a series of course-level outcomes that help to meet industry-defined competency gaps. Under this proposal, we will create a bridge between ABET program-level outcomes and these course-level outcomes. Individual institutions would then use our curriculum model to map course-level outcomes relevant to their mission to the high level ABET outcomes. This will help institutions satisfy national accreditation requirements and help them meet industry needs, while maintaining proper flexibility in their educational objectives.

The proposed work directly addresses the National Science Foundation’s model of STEM education, shown in Figure 1. Our original NSF project to adapt the LF for implementation in a laboratory setting addressed the first part of the NSF model: Creating New Learning Materials and Teaching Strategies. The current proposal will address three of the other components of NSF’s model namely: Implementing Educational Innovations, Assessing Student Achievement, and Developing Faculty Expertise.