Undergraduate Education Program

University of Portland

Heather Dillon
Portland, OR
June 2014

A team at the University of Portland seeks to improve how students learn particular aspects of mechanical engineering laboratory courses across the full four-year curriculum using evidence-based instruction methods.  The project will use modern pedagogical methods – inquiry-based learning and backward design – to create laboratory modules that meet learning objectives rather than have students “cook” with recipes as in most conventional labs.  The project will be used to benchmark current teaching practice at the University, achieve institutional transformation for STEM laboratory courses, and be presented widely to encourage mechanical engineering programs at other institutions to adopt the new modules.  The broader impact will be improved retention and problem solving skill for students, and provision of a mechanism for continuous improvement in lab courses based on scientific method and assessment.

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