(334f) Incorporating Microdevice Research into a Split-Level Elective Course for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Authors: 
Minerick, A. R., Michigan Technological University


It is widely touted that the use of research ideas can create excitement for learning in the classroom. Microscale research is a challenging area within which to do this because microscopes are required to observe most phenomena in microdevices. This paper describes the development of an Analytical Microdevice Technology (AMT) course for undergraduates and graduate students at Mississippi State University. The approaches used in this course were designed to overcome the challenges with directly observing microscale phenomena. The primary course goal was to get the students familiar with small-scale technology with a focus on biomedical diagnostic applications. The course covered both theoretical and experimental advances in the realm of chemical, mechanical, optical and biological analysis. This was accomplished through four activities throughout the semester. One day per week was a dedicated lecture day where the professor came with a structured set of material, in class activities, videos, etc. to provide a foundation of knowledge for the students. A second class day was dedicated to a Survivor Game modeled after J. Newell's 2005 article [1]. The third class day was comprised of student presentations and discussion of technical articles and current news articles on Analytical Microdevice Technology. The fourth activity was a semester-long open-ended concept development project. This activity included progress reports every two weeks where these intermittent reports built to a fully developed concept well grounded in the research literature and featuring a novel approach or device for a biological analysis. This paper will describe both the course content, its close influence with research, and conclude with results of student assessment of the four learning tools.

[1] Newell, J.A. ?Survivor: Classroom. A method of active learning that addresses four types of student motivation.? Chemical Engineering Education, 39(3), 228-231, 2005.

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