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Analyzing Interdisciplinary Competence at ASU

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As a member of the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) and the new Next Generation Service Corps (NGSC), I began this project interested in investigating the benefits and outcomes of these programs on my development throughout

As a member of the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) and the new Next Generation Service Corps (NGSC), I began this project interested in investigating the benefits and outcomes of these programs on my development throughout my undergraduate experience. Since interdisciplinarity is a core component of both programs, my thesis focused on the development and analysis of a survey to measure the interdisciplinary competence of undergraduate students in various programs and majors throughout ASU. In order to develop the survey items, we adapted questions by Lattuca, et al, which only analyzed the interdisciplinary competence of engineering students. Based on our responses, the quantitative data surfaced some interesting discrepancies between students in engineering and non-engineering majors. Broadly, the data also showed that students in GCSP and NGSC have higher interdisciplinary competence, implying there may be some benefits to both. Additionally, a preliminary theme analysis of the qualitative data seems to demonstrate that students appreciate a wide variety of opportunities to be exposed to disciplines outside of their primary major, and programs such as GCSP and NGSC which highlight interdisciplinarity expose students to opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. In the future, I would recommend evaluating the impact of students’ motivations for joining each program and examining the possible implications on their interdisciplinary competence. There are other outcomes that weren’t examined as part of this study, so it may also be interesting for future researchers to investigate other components of each program like the impacts of service learning or entrepreneurial experiences.

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2019-05

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Prototyping a Mobile Application for Undergraduate Computer Science Education

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In modern society, computer science (CS) professionals are necessary in the workforce. A growing number of fields and disciplines require the analytical and programming skills that come from a CS education. Despite the growing demand for programmers, the dropout rate

In modern society, computer science (CS) professionals are necessary in the workforce. A growing number of fields and disciplines require the analytical and programming skills that come from a CS education. Despite the growing demand for programmers, the dropout rate within undergraduate CS programs remains high. In an effort to improve retention and make CS more accessible, I prototyped a mobile application that will help students through the principal deterrents that students face in their undergraduate years. Utilizing survey responses from 51 peers I determined the core courses and concepts within the CS curriculum that provoked the most concern to select the topics covered in the mobile application. The results show that the major barrier courses are CSE 310: Data Structures and Algorithms, CSE 340: Principles of Programming Languages, and CSE 355: Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science. Also using interviews and market research, I went through an iterative design process until I arrived at my final prototype that provides users a visual timeline of their program, examples for each individual topic, the ability to interact with other users, and create quizzes covering content they learned. This prototype is intended to lead to a fully developed application that will prepare and encourage students to further their professional careers in CS.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Engineering the Future: Enhancing the Profile of Biomedical Engineers as a Socially Relevant Discipline

Description

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3].

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3]. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recognizes the current problems in engineering, such as the dominance of white males in the field and the amount of education needed to become a successful engineer [4]. Therefore, the NAE encourages that the current engineering community begin to expose the younger generations to the real foundation of engineering: problem-solving [4]. The objective of this thesis is to minimize the knowledge gap by assessing the current perception of engineering amongst middle school and high school students and improving it through engaging and interactive presentations and activities that build upon the students’ problem-solving abilities.

The project was aimed towards middle school and high school students, as this is the estimated level where they learn biology and chemistry—key subject material in biomedical engineering. The high school students were given presentations and activities related to biomedical engineering. Additionally, within classrooms, posters were presented to middle school students. The content of the posters were students of the biomedical engineering program at ASU, coming from different ethnic backgrounds to try and evoke within the middle school students a sense of their own identity as a biomedical engineer. To evaluate the impact these materials had on the students, a survey was distributed before the students’ exposure to the materials and after that assesses the students’ understanding of engineering at two different time points. A statistical analysis was conducted with Microsoft Excel to assess the influence of the activity and/or presentation on the students’ understanding of engineering.

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Date Created
2017-05

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Enhancing the Profile of Chemical Engineers as Relevant to Society amongst Middle School and High School Students

Description

The objective of this research study is to assess the effectiveness of a poster-based messaging campaign and engineering-based activities for middle school and high school students to encourage students to explore and to pursue chemical engineering. Additionally, presentations are incorporated

The objective of this research study is to assess the effectiveness of a poster-based messaging campaign and engineering-based activities for middle school and high school students to encourage students to explore and to pursue chemical engineering. Additionally, presentations are incorporated into both methods to provide context and improve understanding of the presented poster material or activity. Pre-assessments and post-assessments are the quantitative method of measuring effectiveness. For the poster campaign, ASU juniors and seniors participated in the poster campaign by producing socially relevant messages about their research or aspirations to address relevant chemical engineering problems. For the engineering-based activity, high school students participated in an Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering program "Young Engineers Shape the World" in which the students participated in six-hour event learning about four engineering disciplines, and the chemical engineering presentation and activity was conducted in one of the sessions. Pre-assessments were given at the beginning of the event, and the post-assessments were provided towards the end of the event. This honors thesis project will analyze the collected data.

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Date Created
2017-05

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Project Build-A-Hero: Enhancing Biomedical Engineering as a Socially Relevant Discipline

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The goal of this research study was to empirically study a poster-based messaging campaign in comparison to that of a project-based learning approach in assessing the effectiveness of these methods in conveying the scope of biomedical engineering to upper elementary

The goal of this research study was to empirically study a poster-based messaging campaign in comparison to that of a project-based learning approach in assessing the effectiveness of these methods in conveying the scope of biomedical engineering to upper elementary school students. For the purpose of this honors thesis, this research paper specifically reflects and analyzes the first stage of this study, the poster-based messaging campaign. 6th grade students received socially relevant messaging of juniors and seniors at ASU achieving their biomedical aspirations, and received information regarding four crucial themes of biomedical engineering via daily presentations and a website. Their learning was tracked over the course of the weeklong immersion program through a pre/post assessment. This data was then analyzed through the Wilcoxon matched pairs test to determine whether the change in biomedical engineering awareness was statistically significant. It was determined that a poster-based messaging campaign indeed increased awareness of socially relevant themes within biomedical engineering, and provided researchers with tangible ways to revise the study before a second round of implementation. The next stage of the study aims to explain biomedical engineering through engaging activities that stimulate making while emphasizing design-aesthetic appeal and engineering habits of mind such as creativity, teamwork, and communication.

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Date Created
2016-05