Report on the learning experiences of undergraduate students in a novel aerospace engineering course integrating teaching and research

Dennis K. Mclaughlin, Sven Schmitz, Irene B. Mena

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study concerns the learning experiences of undergraduate students in a pair of loosely connected undergraduate Aerospace Engineering courses that integrate teaching and research. The first one-third of each course is devoted to conventional lectures and/or laboratory exercises with computer interfaced data acquisition systems. The latter two-thirds focus on design and research projects in Aerospace Engineering with a few lectures interspersed. The teaching method has some unique characteristics: I) Undergraduates gain a research experience by working in small groups of two or three students supervised by a volunteer graduate student research mentor, ii) The particular research project is developed by the course instructors and the volunteer graduate student research mentor in advance of the course as one related to the graduate student's thesis research, and iii) The research projects integrate departmental facilities and capabilities for continued research in design, fabrication, experimentation, and computation for future teaching or research activities. The present study analyzes the experiences of the undergraduate students by exploring the following research questions: 1) In what ways do undergraduate students benefit from these courses' teaching methods? 2) How did this experience affect undergraduate students' interest or motivation for continued research in a particular area? and 3) What are the particularly important aspects of the instructors' responsibilities that require attention in this teaching arrangement? Pre- And post-course surveys along with interviews in focus groups were used for data collection. The benefits for the undergraduate students related to their future careers are addressed in the paper along with the difficulties encountered in the group dynamics, communication skills, and uneven time commitments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Sep 24 2013
Event120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 26 2013

Other

Other120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
CountryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA
Period6/23/136/26/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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    Mclaughlin, D. K., Schmitz, S., & Mena, I. B. (2013). Report on the learning experiences of undergraduate students in a novel aerospace engineering course integrating teaching and research. Paper presented at 120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Atlanta, GA, United States.