A Paper Submitted to the ASEE 2014

A conference paper co-authored with nanoscience researchers has been submitted to the ASEE 2014.

Cho, J., Jayan, T., Kim, S., & Zhai, L. (Alphabetical Order; in review). An Investigation on the Needs of Collaborative Media and Interactive Learning Strategy for Nanotechnology Education, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 2014, Indianapolis, Indiana

An Investigation on the Needs of Collaborative Media and Interactive Learning Strategy for Nanotechnology Education

Currently, the field of nanoscience is growing exponentially and nanotechnology is impacting our daily lives in many ways. The National Science Foundation estimates that the job projection for nanotechnology is around two million workers worldwide by 2015. With this demand, nanotechnology education is being offered by more and more universities around the world. This implies the importance of the education and training of a new generation of skilled individuals in nanotechnology. In other words, it is necessary to have an effective nanoscience teaching and learning methodology. However, nanotechnology in science and engineering is taught in a traditional manner that is typically based on lecture note slides along with a few multimedia supports such as movie clips and 2D/3D image. This traditional way of nanoscience education lacks high level of student engagement. One way to address this challenge is to utilize collaborative learning which can facilitate students’ participation and leverage their learning.

We propose a new discussion-based collaborative learning strategy for undergraduate nanotechnology education which we coined, “Collaborative Networked Virtual Experiences for Nanotechnology Education (CONVENE)”. The primary objective is to transform the traditional instructor-driven, lecture-intensive teaching to more engaging student-driven interactive learning. The rationale behind the approach is that, in a nanotechnology class, discussions based on virtual experiments using nano devices help students better understand the principles of nanotechnology. The CONVENE will address the challenges of explaining critical concepts and working principles of nanosystems and devices to students in the classroom setting in a dynamic and interactive manner.

A total of two studies have been planned in order to address the effectiveness of the CONVENE concept. The first study will identify the students’ need on cloud and social media based nanoscience learning that will enable them to discuss nanosceience both inside and outside the classroom. The second study will measure the concept of the CONVENE platform in terms of two perspectives: an educational system design perspective (if it is feasible to be used by college students) and an interactive content development perspective (if it can transform traditional nanoscience learning materials to interactive materials). Online and offline surveys will be used to collect students’ need regarding the first study and a set of three focus groups will be formed to conduct the second study. This is to identify the preliminary effectiveness of the CONVENE nanoscience learning platform. The expected outcomes of this study are identifications of (i) the needs of interactive media on the nanoscience undergraduate education and (ii) the implications of cloud and social media on nanoscience educational curriculum.