Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"A technology-enhanced and model-based learning environment for supporting student engineering design activities"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Spring 2016 - DURI
Research area(s):
iSTEM, Engineering design, Simulations, Suboptimal models, Hands-on learning, Design heuristics, Design fixation, Counter-examples
Project Description:
The goal of this project is to develop a model-based learning environment for middle school that supports productive disciplinary engagement with engineering design practices. Middle school students will learn about making effective tradeoffs and optimize designs by designing an optimal plumbing system for a home. They will use a software simulation and suboptimal priming model to develop systems thinking. Small groups of students serve as "plumbing companies" competing to win the bid for building the plumbing system of a house, with the winner being the company that meet the pressure requirements (10 psi at every tap) for the least cost. The simulation will provide opportunities for the students to ‘mess-about’ and explore different design ideas and understand the effects of various design decisions. The suboptimal model primes the students by highlighting the design constraints, design parameters, and relationship between the parameters, helping them formulate design heuristics like expert engineers. Through this project we will develop a curriculum supporting integrated STEM (iSTEM) learning. It will allow middle school students to productively engage with the authentic engineering design practices using a technology-enhanced inquiry learning environment.
Expected Student Contributions:
The intern will contribute by applying programming knowledge and skills to develop the next version of the simulation software following a user-centered design approach and add/improve features to support better user-experience. S/he will also help facilitate usability studies to test the simulation and iteratively optimize the software. The intern will conduct research, participate in curriculum development, integration of the simulation in the curriculum and publish papers for conferences and journals.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Minimum GPA of 3.0 Completed a minimum of 30 credit hours of college courses Willing to complete human subjects online training (if needed) Proficient in Java, Processing (optional), Android and/or iOS programming knowledge is a plus Responsible, strong work ethics.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Magana, Alejandra
Computer and Information Technology

Student Supervisor

Chandan Dasgupta
Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Cooperating Faculty

Bedrich Benes
Department of Computer Graphics Technology