Inspiring, Creative, Fun, Technical Learning

A recent report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) indicates that: “Economic projections point to a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the U.S. will produce at the current rate over the next decade if the country is to retain its historical preeminence in science and technology… Fewer than 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree.”  Studies show that uninspiring introductory courses and poor teaching are some of the main reasons for such attrition.  Research-based pedagogical techniques illustrate that delivering the course with interactive techniques (students-to-student and student-to-faculty) was by far the most important influential positive factor in a student’s development.  Further, what is not often understood is that engineering is a creative discipline that allows one to explore designs that represent a freedom of expression, and the resulting design impacts society.  All of this – high STEM attrition, uninspiring introductory courses, effectiveness of interactive techniques, and expression of creativity – inspires my teaching as discussed below.