Synergy of Educational Tools for Teaching Electromagnetic Fields and Waves: Lab Experiments, Educational Java Applets, Numerical Modeling, Textbook with Power Point Presentations
Vladimir Mitin Principal Investigator
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PROJECT DESCRIPTION<br/><br/>This project is developing a one-semester Electromagnetic Fields and Waves (EFW) course for junior-level engineering undergraduate students and is establishing a new undergraduate laboratory for teaching EFW. The project is creating a novel teaching approach that employs interactive pedagogies, exposing students to an educational sequence of experimentation - theory - experimentation - applications. Undergraduate students are using experiments, educational Java applets, and numerical solver software to help them learn the theoretical principles of EFW. Through the utilization of engaging teaching practices, students are also learning to utilize a scientific approach and further develop their critical reasoning and creative thinking skills.<br/><br/>The understanding of electricity and magnetism requires a certain level of mathematical knowledge; therefore, concepts such as vector algebra and vector calculus are gradually introduced - as needed - in sync with the teaching material that is covered in the course. The teaching approach involves the following: 1) a non-traditional synergistic style of teaching and use of an interactive Blackboard online system (UBlearns); 2) an introduction to electricity and magnetism that is provided through a student's exploration of corresponding experiments; and 3) a unified description of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, which is used to provide an appreciation for interdisciplinary applications. <br/><br/><br/>BROADER SIGNIFICANCE<br/><br/>The project is attempting to positively impact the recruitment of high achieving K-12 students to STEM education, the training of college professors, and the involvement of women and underrepresented minority undergraduate/graduate students in the development of a new EFW laboratory. The results are being disseminated through participation in ASEE conferences and workshops, while the developed teaching materials and lab manuals are being distributed to college/university professors. A newly developed course website offers the results of the project activities along with the teaching materials and lab manuals. The teaching strategies are embedded in a new textbook/lab manual publication to further enhance STEM education. The team is additionally working with local chapters of the Association of Black Engineers and Applied Scientists, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Women in Science and Engineering to recruit engineering students from underrepresented groups.