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.