ASEE Gulf-Southwest Section Annual Meeting 2018 Papers

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    Work-in-Progress: Research Plan for Introducing Problem Solving Skills through Activities to an Introductory Computer Science Course
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Coffman-Wolph, Stephany; Gray, Kimberlyn; Pool, Marcia
    This work-in-progress research plan paper describes the process of developing and planning an introductory computer science course utilizing fundamental problem-solving skills in combination with hands-on visual activities to explain various Computer Science (CS) concepts. Problem solving skills, as observed by the authors of the paper, are challenging for students across multiple STEM disciplines, but those who develop these skills perform better within their STEM courses. The authors hypothesize that introduction of these skills within a first-year computer science course will benefit a student’s successful completion of a STEM degree and their future STEM career [1]. The goal of this research is to integrate fundamental problem-solving skills into the existing course material and in-class activities. The research project will use two-sections of the same course taught during the same semester with approximately 200 students in each section. Nine hands-on activities, each covering a fundamental programming concept, were created to explain these concepts to students with a visual, real-world component. Both sections will cover the same computer science material, but some activities will be different between the two sections to allow for comparison of performance. There are nine planned activities: three will be performed with both sections; three will be performed only in section 1; and the remaining three will be performed only in section 2. Student performance on exams and programming assignments for these topics will be same and compared across both courses. This paper details the similarities and differences between the two sections of the course in terms of setup, activities planned, targeted problem- solving skills, and learning objectives. Additionally, the paper explains the evaluation plan and assessment tools/ measures to be used (including pre- and post-surveys and assessment of student performance).
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    Water Content and Thermoplastic Polyurethane Effects on Thrombosis Clotting
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Small, Madeline; Jackson, Monica; Neuenschwander, Pierre; Chou, Shih-Feng
    One of the main factors that can increase the chance of heart disease is unwanted blood clotting, or thrombosis. In addition, implantable biomaterials and/or medical devices are likely to trigger a series of adverse reactions that can lead to unwanted blood clotting. Herein, we study a thromboresistant polymeric material, specifically thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs), on their physical properties and anticoagulation performance. Their hydrophobic nature and superior mechanical properties make them an ideal candidate for coating materials on implantable medical devices, such as vascular stents. Our results show that hydrophobic TPUs absorbed minimal to negligible water content and provided excellent thromboresistant properties against human plasma.
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    Using Twitter to Support Students' Design Thinking
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Markey, Mia K.; Monteiro, Joao Carlos; Stewart, Julie
    The goal of the short-term study abroad course “International Perspectives on Biomedical Engineering Design” is to enable students to consider sociotechnical factors in designing clinically translatable solutions. In addition, comparison of healthcare systems in Europe and the United States enables students to see the impact of culture on healthcare because people in these locations have similar medical resources. Students seek to define an actionable problem statement that summarizes the needs and insights identified through interviews with healthcare professionals. Methods recommended for formulating actionable problem statements include creating a Madlib or want ad. However, such approaches did not resonate with our student group. In this presentation, we describe our experiences using Twitter as a method for students to succinctly write actionable problem statements that spur creative problem solving.
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    Using the Spreadsheet as a Tool for Teaching the Fundamentals of Engineering
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Garcia, Arthur F. Jr.
    This paper will demonstrate how the electronic spreadsheet has been used in a freshman level Fundamentals of Engineering course to prepare students for maximizing their analytical skills with the most ubiquitous analytical tool available today.
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    Using the Internet of Things to Teach Good Software Engineering Practice to High School Students
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Julien, Christine
    This paper describes a course to introduce high school students to software engineering in practice using the Internet Of Things (IoT). IoT devices allow students to get quick, visible results without watering down technical aspects of programming and networking. The course has three broad goals: (1) to make software engineering fun and applicable, with the aim of recruiting traditionally underrepresented groups into computing; (2) to make young students begin to approach problems with a design mindset; and (3) to show students that computer science, generally, and software engineering, specifically, is about much more than programming. The course unfolds in three segments. The first is a whirlwind introduction to a subset of IoT technologies. Students complete a specific task (or set of tasks) using each technology. This segment culminates in a “do-it-yourself” project, in which the students implement a simple IoT application using their basic knowledge of the technologies. The course’s second segment introduces software engineering practices, again primarily via hands-on practical tutorials. In the third segment of the course, the students conceive of, design, and implement a project that uses the technologies introduced in the first segment, all while being attentive to the good software engineering practices acquired in the second segment. In addition to presenting the course curriculum, the paper also discusses a first offering of the course in a threeweek summer intensive program in 2017, including assessments done to evaluate the curriculum.
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    Using Technology to Develop Ethical Choice in Engineering Students
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Taraban, Roman; Marcy, William M.
    This paper describes the interactive technology that we have added to an undergraduate course titled “Engineering Ethics and Impact on Society.” The purpose of this technology is to develop students’ awareness of cultural differences in engineers’ approaches to ethical practice, and to develop students’ abilities to communicate in a global workplace. These goals are being pursued through a website that is publicly available, titled Reflective Choices We describe the development of the website and results from the first several months of implementation. A major purpose of this paper is to make our colleagues aware of this website and to encourage them to contribute featured articles related to engineering ethics and professional practice.
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    Using Spreadsheets to Enhance Understanding of Number Theory
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Toussaint, Mario; Ploger, Don
    Computer spreadsheets can help elementary school students explore concepts in number theory. We describe a spreadsheet program that can generate all the factors of an integer. To understand how the spreadsheet solves these problems, we use the metaphor of a robot. The robot must interpret data from the real world and respond effectively. Although non-engineers may not understand the details, they can see what the robot types, and can discuss how the robot makes decisions. Students can see mathematical knowledge being used. The robot can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and determine whether a number is an integer. Based upon this knowledge, the robot can determine the factors of a number. In one method, the robot follows the rules blindly, testing each possible factor. In the second method, the robot uses knowledge of number theory to solve the problem much more efficiently. The activities are extended to include the topic of prime numbers. In the first method, the robot determines that 97 is prime by performing all possible divisions starting with 1. Although the answer is correct, the method is inefficient. It is much more effective to apply knowledge of number theory to determine that only the prime numbers less than ten need to be tested. As a result, only four divisions, rather than 97, are needed to determine the correct answer. With the power of spreadsheets, students can observe different methods that get the correct answer, and discover those that are most efficient.
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    Using Multi-Disciplinary Design Challenges to Enhance Self-Efficacy within a Summer STEM Outreach Program
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) McClary, Tony; Zeiber, Jacqueline A.; Sullivan, Patricia; Stochaj, Steven
    Research regarding STEM programs has shown that participating in these programs leads to increased knowledge and retention of technological concepts [1]. Additionally, participating in STEM programs leads to increased self-confidence, satisfaction, and interest in engineering [2]. Current research focuses on whether participating in STEM programs increases self-efficacy [3]. However, several factors can influence the effectiveness of these programs. For example, motivation influences the degree to which participants are engaged with activities as does their background knowledge [4]. Additionally, program effectiveness is impacted by the limitations of the learning context itself such that participants will be unable to complete designs if expectations for the design exceed the constraints of their environment [4]. The program is designed to introduce and educate the participants in the various engineering disciplines offered at the collegiate level and culminates in a multi-disciplinary design challenge designed as a “collaborative-benefit” competition [5]. The program is meant to drive students toward collaboration and achievement of a shared goal. The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of an intensive, two-week project-based engineering program for high school students on self-efficacy and engineering identity in the participants. Results from this year’s survey suggest that participating in the program increased high school students’ perceived and actual knowledge of the engineering discipline. Completing the program also led to improvements in self-efficacy and increased interest in the field of engineering. This paper will discuss the process for developing design challenges for assessment of self-efficacy, assessment tools, and outcomes from the program delivery.
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    Using GitHub as a Teaching Tool for Programming Courses
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Angulo, Miguel A.; Aktunc, Ozgur
    GitHub has become the most popular code management platform in the software development industry. It allows developers to manage their software development projects and collaborate with each other. Recently, educators also started using GitHub as a teaching tool for programming courses by hosting code samples and managing student assignments. In this study, we examine how GitHub is being used in academia, and we discuss the motivations and the benefits of using this platform. We also present authors’ experience of using GitHub in programming courses of a software engineering program. We discuss the benefits and challenges of using GitHub and GitHub classroom in the classroom.
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    Using Experiential and Collaborative Learning to Promote Careers in Engineering
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Williams, Rochelle; Frizell, Sherri; Nave, Felecia; Thompson, Audie
    This paper discusses the design of the Girls Accelerating and Learning STEM (G.A.L.S.) one-week residential summer camp designed to encourage young girls to pursue engineering careers. Specifically, the camp exposed participants to the fields of computer science and engineering using experiential learning to develop participant interest and skills. At the end of the program, students participated in team competitions and presented their work. The end-of-program survey data showed that the G.A.L.S. camp had an impact on the enhancement of student interest in engineering as a potential career. The paper will provide details on the program components, and further discuss the impacts of the program and how it can be used as a model for future programs.
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    Using Active Learning and Team Competition to Teach Gas Turbine Cycle Design
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Van Treuren, Kenneth
    An elective, Analysis and Design of Propulsion Systems, has been a traditional lecture course teaching gas turbine engines from a design perspective. This past fall semester additional active learning modules were introduced to make the course more interactive. Students formed teams of four and each team was designated a company. The task was to design a replacement engine for the B-52H which served as the basis for learning about gas turbine engine design. The companies picked a name, developed a logo, and wrote a mission statement. Competition was encouraged and the “companies” were tasked to eventually design the lowest cost, most efficient high bypass turbofan engine to replace the existing engine. A three part design project led to a final report on the engine design. To conclude the process, each team presented their engine as if they were a company trying to sell their product to a customer. The customer, the professor, picked an overall winner based on the information presented. Assessment of the course showed that the students appreciated the competitive environment giving them insight into how a gas turbine company, such as Rolls-Royce, GE, or Pratt & Whitney, might operate. In conclusion, the active learning modules and the design project were effective in challenging and exciting the students about the design of gas turbine engines. The company context for teams prepares students for what they might encounter in industry.
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    Understanding Behaviors of Attendance in Supplemental Instruction and Subsequent Academic Success in a First Year Engineering Course
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Abraham, Nisha; Telang, Nina
    As student retention and four-year graduation rates are of institutional and national interest and frequently referred metrics for college success, the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program aims to reduce D’s, F’s and Q drop rates in historically difficult classes. Although previous work done by this group revealed that attending SI sessions for a firstyear course (Introduction to Electrical Engineering) positively impacted exam scores and subsequent course grades [1], the program continues to experience low participation rates. Emerging questions of student behaviors in relation to attendance at SI sessions are addressed in this article. The study utilizes a mixed-methods approach, incorporating quantitative data relating to grades and attendance with qualitative data relating to student awareness, use and perceptions about SI. These analyses serve to gain an understanding of the effects of SI and identify components of the program that students value. Quantitative data was collected in the form of session attendance logs, grade data, and student demographics. Qualitative data was collected in the form of pre- and postsurveys administered during the third and final week of the semester.
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    Training Students for Critical Thinking in an Electrical Engineering Core Course
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Jin, Yu-Fang
    Analysis and Design of Control Systems is a core course in most Electrical Engineering programs in the United States. This course is the first course that provides a systemic view of engineering designs and links classroom knowledge to real-world applications. Training students for critical thinking (CT) skills in this class is essential to their career success. However, a high D and F grades and withdraw (DFW) rate has been observed in this course for years. The goal of this study is to redesign the course components to integrate critical thinking training into classroom activities and reform students’ habits in problem-solving. The new course components include a series of lectures on cognition, critical thinking, examples of famous engineering projects with critical thinking, and decomposition of critical thinking skills in classroom examples. Evaluation of the new course module was conducted based on critical thinking assessment test, two student surveys through the semester, three classroom observations, and students’ performance comparing against an untrained control group in the previous semester. Our results illustrated an effective way to improve critical thinking with this training module.
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    Training Graduate Students in Utilization of Analytical Instruments in a Failure Analysis Course
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Nasrazadani, S.; Sekar, S.; Padamati, N.; Wang, X.; Gamez-Rivas, F.
    Department of Engineering Technology at University of North Texas offers a graduate course on failure analysis (MSET 5150) during spring semesters. Partial requirement for the course is for students to submit a term paper based on their collected data related to a term project. Case studies are given to groups of students to work on actual failed components received from area industries. Results of their findings are presented at the end of the semester in both oral presentation form and written term paper form followed the format of a well-established technical papers. Results of such exercises allows graduate students devote skills in using scientific instruments and practice manuscript preparations for publication. This paper presents examples of a case studies done by groups of students who worked on failure analysis of components failed in an oil and gas industry. Students developed skills in utilization of scanning electron microscope (SEM), Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometry. This exercise has proven highly effective in introducing young engineers to real world problems in oil and gas industry and help them develop skills needed in performing failure analysis and steps involved.
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    Tracking Student Success in Order to Assess the Instructor Effectiveness to Improve Student Retention and Graduation Rates
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Manteufel, Randall D.; Karimi, Amir
    This paper explores the metric of follow-on student success that can be considered when evaluating an instructor’s effectiveness. The metric is the follow-on course success rate which should be useful in engineering since many fundamental courses are prerequisites to follow-on courses. For example, students who pass thermodynamics 1 should be able to pass thermodynamics 2. The data shows that the follow-on success rate depends on the instructor who teaches the first course. As more universities focus on student retention and graduation rates, they should investigate metrics to gauge how well an instructor prepares students for subsequent academic success. This paper looks at course follow-on success rate in a two-semester sequence of thermodynamics courses.
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    The Talking Points Tool: A Brief Intervention to Support Predoctoral Student and Faculty Advisor Communication
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Savoy, Julia N.; Markey, Mia K.; Rylander, H. Grady III
    Excellent relationships between predoctoral students and faculty supervisors can lay the foundation for a satisfying degree program and productive future. Contrarily, poor relationships can frustrate both students and supervisors. We examined mentoring experiences focused on career development. Students desired enhanced career mentoring but were uncomfortable approaching their supervisors with these concerns. Faculty advisors reported willingness to support students’ career development, yet expected students to initiate those conversations. Responding to this communication disconnect, we developed a brief intervention to facilitate conversations—a Talking Points Tool (TPT). In this paper, we examine whether the TPT influenced students’ career conversations and development.
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    The Practices of Play and Informal Learning in the miniGEMS STEAM Camp
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Wang, Chaoyi; Frye, Michael; Nair, Sreerenjini
    Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) play an important role in the educational reform and global economy. However, STEM education lacks the hands-on laboratory in the formal middle school and high school curricula. The widespread gender gap in multiple STEM disciplines causes middle-school aged girls have lower positive attitudes and interests towards STEM fields than male students. In recent years, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education has been viewed as other approaches to increase students’ interests and improve study accesses to STEM fields in the United States. The addition of the arts in STAEM education provides more learning opportunities and real-world contexts which meet more students’ interests. miniGEMS 2017 was a free two-week summer STEAM and programming camp for middle school girls in grades six to eight hosted by the Autonomous Vehicle Systems (AVS) Research and Education Laboratory at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). miniGEMS was the first free camp with a special focus on engineering and programming in San Antonio. The camp utilized project-based learning curriculum and provided multiple hands-on experiments, field trips, and significant interactions with guest speakers, all of which were designed to increase the middle school girls’ interests in STEM-related fields. This paper provides an overview of miniGEMS STEAM camp, motivation for miniGEMS camp, and details on practicing project-based play activities in an informal learning environment.
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    The Effects of a First Year Engineering Class Using the SCALE-Up Method on Student Retention and Subsequent Student Pass Rates
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Ewing, David
    Due to the increased demand for engineers, the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) created a new, first year engineering class using the Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-Up) method to specifically address engineering student retention by encouraging student persistence and success throughout their academic career. Since UTA enjoys a very diverse student population with varying learning styles, socio-economic backgrounds, and prior knowledge and preparation, the SCALE-Up method was chosen due to its reliance on problem-based, active learning strategies, peer instruction through teamwork, and peer leaders within the classroom. After two and a half years of implementation of this class, known as ENGR 1300 – Engineering Problem Solving, this paper will explore the first year and second year engineering retention rates. This comparison will show that engineering retention rates have increased since ENGR 1300 was implemented. Further, this paper will show this increase occurs across multiple student type groups, provided that the student take ENGR 1300 in their first semester. Finally, to assess the positive effects of the new class, this paper will show that the pass rates of three subsequent mechanical engineering classes, Statics, Dynamics, and Strength of Materials, increased after ENGR 1300 was implemented.
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    The Design and Development of a Multi-Disciplinary Project in Embedded Systems Design
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Fry, Cynthia C.; Potter, Steven P.
    As has been noted over the past ten years, “The wall between computer science and electrical engineering has kept the potential of embedded systems at bay. It is time to build a new scientific foundation with embedded systems design as the cornerstone, which will ensure a systematic and even-handed integration of the two fields.”[1] In Baylor University’s School of Engineering & Computer Science, the Embedded Systems course in the Department of Computer Science, and the Embedded Systems Design course in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have been offered independent of each other in the recent past. In the past year, however, this is beginning to change, with plans developing to combine the project portion of the two courses into one multi-disciplinary group project. This paper will document the two courses – scope and sequence, as well as emphasis, equipment used, and delivery style – highlighting the need for a new and innovative approach at the systematic integration of software and hardware in the design and development of a mutli-disciplinary group project. The beta test of this group project is occurring in the fall 2017 semester, with full first-time full-scale deployment during the spring 2018 semester. The results of this beta test will be discussed, and the lessons learned and planned modifications to the course will be considered.
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    Thank God it's Friday: Student Attendance in Classes Just before Weekend
    (American Society for Engineering Education, 2019-04) Choudhury, Ifte
    It is generally assumed that attendance level in Friday classes at an undergraduate level is low compared to other days of the week. The purpose of this study is to validate this assumption. A Chi-square analysis was performed on the attendance of all students enrolled in a Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing course in Spring 2017, offered at a state university in Texas. The results indicated that the number of absences in Friday classes was significantly higher than in other classes of the week; the Chi-square value was found to be 83.376 at the level of significance (p-value) of less than 0.0001. Some probable reasons for this student behavior has been reported in the study. A few remedial measures have also been suggested.