Two Engineering Professors Selected for Symposium on Engineering Education
Chase Rainwater, assistant professor of industrial engineering, and Douglas Spearot, associate professor of mechanical engineering, attended the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium in October.
The symposium was a meeting of faculty members who are developing and implementing innovative education approaches. The participants, who were nominated and selected by members of the National Academy of Engineering, spent two and half days sharing ideas, research and best practices in engineering education.
Each participant made a poster presentation with subjects ranging from 3D printing in the classroom to online education to the use of art and music in engineering education. Rainwater and Spearot both presented techniques to effectively teach engineering to large classes. Rainwater presented an approach which blends project based learning with the concept of a “flipped” classroom, in which students watch lectures and study materials outside of the classroom, while using classroom time to work on projects with guidance from the professor. Spearot presented his use of in-class response systems and small group work during drill sessions.
Rainwater and Spearot agreed that the benefits of the symposium included learning about the many different approaches to engineering education and gaining an understanding of the importance of institutional support for non-traditional teaching methods. The symposium was also a networking opportunity. Participants spoke to a representative from the National Science Foundation, and built relationships with faculty members who were dealing with similar challenges. The U of A professors were part of a group that made plans to create a repository for best practices in engineering education.
“I commend Drs. Rainwater and Spearot for their participation in this symposium,” said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. “It’s an honor to them and a positive reflection on our college to be included in this group of innovators in engineering education.”
Camilla Shumaker, director of communications
College of Engineering
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