Assistant Professor Ahad Ali of Lawrence Technological University is the principal investigator for a collaborative team of four universities that has received a $47,000 grant to develop sustainability-related educational modules related to product development.
The grant is from the Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha, Wisc. The four universities – LTU, Gonzaga University, Ohio Northern University, and Saint Louis University – are members of the Kern Entrepreneur Education Network.
Each school will develop two modules during the fall 2013 semester and the spring 2014 semester and integrate them into existing courses.
A problem-based learning (PBL) approach will be utilized in the delivery of the proposed sustainability modules. Student teams will identify the product to be used for the sustainability design project and then interview practicing engineers to gain first-hand insight into the design and manufacturing processes.
“It is important for our students to have a clear understanding of real problems, challenges and practical solutions to achieve meaningful results,” Ali said.
Based on this experience, each team will develop alternative sustainable design and/or manufacturing processes. Creative problem-solving techniques will be utilized to develop an optimum solution, according to Ali.
Pre- and post-surveys will be used to assess student learning. Faculty and working engineers will be part of the evaluation team.
All student presentations will be videotaped, and each of the four universities will develop a 15-18 minute video based on the student proposal and final presentations of sustainability studies.
The educational modules and videos will be made available to other universities through a dedicated website, the KEEN network, and other professional and educational organizations.