Online Learning In The Age Of COVID-19 And Beyond

Image Courtesy of Zoom Video Communications

By now, it is fairly clear that the delivery of education has changed. With no in-person, on-campus classes and nearly everything online, we have moved into a new era, whether we like it or not. COVID-19 may soon be stopped by way of a vaccine, but its impact is undeniable. 

Thanks to Dr. Ismail Fidan, Professor of the Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology at Tennessee Tech University, AM News started exploring what online learning looks like, on the ground, for the Spring semester and future ones. Since most of you were thrown into the virtual learning, distance learning, remote learning world (pick your term), we uncovered many great resources ideas we hope will help you plan and build your courses and teaching methods.

Dr. Fidan faces some of the same challenges that many professors face — how to teach an in-person lab when you cannot meet in person. He shared that he was able to build his own virtual lab, and help his colleagues with theirs, to develop materials for ZOOM and TTU’s use of Desire2Learn’s BrightSpace learning management system platform. 

In the Plant Layout and Materials Handling course, students do their design work by accessing the virtual laboratory of Tennessee Tech, quickly developed by the Information Technology Services team. Using the commercial VMware Horizon application, students join the laboratory and complete their assignments remotely using AutoCAD 2020.

In the CNC Machining Practices course, students use the Autodesk Fusion 360 software tool (again via remote access). This is a cutting-edge simulation tool for CNC machining operations. Anything they program also functions the same as in real cutting operations.

Although the MatEdU free resources were not built for remote learning specifically, you can find a wide range of materials science curricula that may guide your next steps to planning online courses. Visit the MatEdU Modules page or the Instructional Resources page. Here are five additional sites packed with even more ideas. 

Regardless of which technology platform your school uses, here are several other resources that may provide useful tips and techniques:

Materiom Is Serving As Nature’s Recipe Book For STEM Educators

If you are an educator, a maker, a biohacker, or a curious student, who is often trying to come up with recipes for #natural #materials to test out in your classroom, workshop, or lab, this Materiom site is for you. Their Materials Library is filled with “recipes” for materials you might throw away as compost-worthy, but that can be used in a variety of student projects.

Materiom Materials Library Search Tool
Materiom Materials Library Search Tool

Here are a few recipes you will find and the image above gives some ideas as to what you will find on the site. 

  • -Eggshell biocomposite
  • -Sawdust / agar
  • -Chitosan 12% – Stiff behaviour
  • -Sodium Bicarbonate / Cornstarch
  • -Green tea
  • -Kombucha fabric
  • -Agar bioplastic (heated)
  • -Coffee grounds (used)

According to their home page, “Materiom provides open data on how to make materials that nourish local economies and ecologies. We support companies, cities, and communities in creating and selecting materials sourced from locally abundant biomass that are part of a regenerative circular economy.”

Users can customize and finely tune their materials recipes for their long list of over 50 different  materials (or variations of some materials). Search their Materials Database here.

If you are anything like the team at TTU that invented the paste-based 3D printer known as the TechBot, (patent-pending) then you might be able to use one of these novel, DIY pastes found on Materiom. Both these recipes were created by Marita Sauerwein and E.L.Doubrovski. Check out the Mussel shell | alginate MS01 recipe as well as the similar Mussel shell – sucrose composite. The recipes are on a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 license, but be warned, they are rated 5 out of 5-stars for difficulty.

This post idea originated on the Materials Education Facebook page (via our sister organization MatEdU).

Learn How To Integrate Materials Into Your STEM Classroom At M-STEM 2019

The 2019 M-STEM event in Golden, Colorado this November 4 and 5 promises to be one you don’t want to miss. If you have not heard about M-STEM, it is an annual workshop held to explore the world of materials as they are often used within STEM education circles.

“M-STEM, sponsored by the National Science Foundation as part of an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) with MatEdU, provides hands-on sessions that bring together students, faculty, industry and business to strengthen understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles, especially relating to advancing materials science, and to enhancing a K-20 technology education integration. A unique feature of M-STEM is hands-on, interactive learning which presents information in a way that engages students and teachers.” — M-STEM website

Here’s a list of the workshop sessions:

        • Corrosion of Metals…more fun than rocket science!
        • Designing Foods with Sugar
        • Helping Girls choose STEM Careers
        • Critical Materials Institute (CMI) Toolkit
        • Making Superheroes Come to Life
        • Copper Mining and Environmental Recovery
        • Glassblowing
        • Materials Classroom Labs
        • Nano’s Role in Water Treatment & Filtration
        • Bridges & Stress-Strain Curves
        • Integration of Workplace Competencies
        • HydroPrinting

Each year, M-STEM is hosted at some amazing schools and locations. This year is a special one because the Colorado School of Mines is well known for its intense focus on materials.

Mines, as it is commonly called, is regularly on lists of top schools in the USA. In a recent news release, College Factual, released its annual list of the nation’s top engineering schools this week, with Colorado School of Mines again taking the #1 top spot on a list of the “Best Engineering Colleges Nationwide.”

In addition, M-STEM is partnering with three others to make this year a must-attend event: 

The second day of the M-STEM event is known as the Tuesday Intensives where participants get to take a deep dive into specific topics. ASM International, formerly known as the American Society for Metals, is sending two teachers to present on day one and give one of the Tuesday Intensive sessions.

Learn more about M-STEM 2019 and sign up to attend this year.

STEM Guitar Project Engages Teachers And Students

The Guitar Building Institute, also known as the STEM Guitar project, is regularly mentioned here on AM News because they continue to move STEM forward in exciting ways. Sinclair Community College Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, Tom Singer, and his team are busy around the USA teaching educators about using guitar building to teach STEM to middle and high school students.

You can read more about their special events for U.S. Military veterans in our 2018 post: Guitar Building For Veterans In Puget Sound.

The STEM Guitar project was first awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in 2008 and its first classes started in 2009. As they celebrate their first full decade in operation, more than 800 STEM educators have participated in the five day workshops held all around the USA.

According to a recent post in the SME “Humans of Manufacturing” series, in which Tom Singer was profiled, “Students across the country have designed and manufactured 10,000 guitars. STEM teachers from 40 states have either gone through a Guitar Building Institute course or have purchased guitar kits. At Sinclair, the college produces about 1,200 guitar kits a year, making it a mid-tier guitar manufacturer within the industry.”

As an active partner of the TEAMM coordination network, whose mission is to bring together a wide variety of public and private sector stakeholders (for technician education) and improve access to professional development, the STEM Guitar project aligns with and helps TEAMM to fulfill its mission. STEM Guitar, with its team of 22 faculty around the U.S., coordinates faculty training and other non-profit skill building events related to STEM, Guitars, and materials.

While it is recommended and worthwhile to attend the official STEM Guitar workshop, (the staff here at AM News has participated in and documented several of the workshops), the project website at GuitarBuilding.org is loaded with information for educators and individuals, including the complete curriculum. Joining the live workshop gives participants an opportunity to build their own guitar and learn first-hand what is needed to replicate these lessons in the classroom (hint: you need a workshop, benches, tools). The curriculum and project based learning aligns with industry soft and hard skill sets and is crosswalked to K-12 standards

If you click through to the Video area of the site, you will find details on one of the techniques that the STEM Guitar team has perfected: How To Swirl Dip Your Guitar. The “Swirl dipping guitars from down under” link leads you to a YouTube video that gives you a unique view of the process — in the barrel of water looking up into the paint. Plus, you can see some of the amazing guitar finishing (lots of Swirl Paint jobs) results from photographer James Huntington Schuelke’s Flickr profile.

Here is the direct link to the YouTube Swirl Dip Your Guitar video.

TEAMM is always excited to see the progress and success of its members, but it is tough for any organization to match the energy and enthusiasm found in training other educators and middle/high school students. If you need to spark excitement for STEM learning, head over to Tom Singer and his team at STEM Guitar for ideas and inspiration.

Intelitek Is Making A Difference In AM And Technician Education

AM News is highlighting different Network members to show how they are making a difference in additive manufacturing and technician education. TEAMM Network member, Intelitek, is making a difference in increasing and improving robotics and STEM curricula around the USA and the world.

Intelitek provides educational institutions with interactive technological learning environments.

According to their website, their innovative and award-winning educational initiatives have “helped students from middle and high schools to post-secondary institutions gain crucial career building skills that will ensure their future employability.” Their programs have been taught in in over 50 countries, educating students in over 26,000 schools, labs and institutes, and teaching over 500 different training topics. In the short YouTube video below, you can get a quick overview.

For example, they provide project-based learning curricula to many of the community colleges in states that have dual enrollment programs. Dual enrollment is when high school students can enroll in a nearby community college earning their Associates degree at the same time they complete their high school requirements. Here in Washington State, where the TEAMM Network is based, our program is called Running Start.

In New York State, Intelitek helps the Adirondack Community College / High School program known as BOCES, offer a project-based learning program that features hands-on activities with industrial-level manufacturing equipment. Students can access online curriculum that is integrated with projects that use classroom hardware for topics like CAD, precision measurement, mechanical systems and electrical systems.

The BOCES program also helps students prepare for the well known MSSC certification exams, such as the Certified Production Technician (CPT) and representatives from the program expressed that the Intelitek courses help students get ready for them.

Intelitek has been transforming education and bringing robotics into classrooms across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions for more than 30 years. Their specialized focus on training systems for advanced manufacturing gives educators an advantage in their teaching. In addition to the core STEM offering, they have add-on modules for robotics, 3D printing, energy systems, and other manufacturing-oriented topics.

We are honored to have them as a member for the great work they are doing in producing results for students and teachers.

If you are interested to learn more about integrating STEM into your curriculum, download this 2019 white paper on How to Make STEM Part of the Mainstream Curriculum.