In an introductory materials science course for mechanical and industrial engineering sophomores, a term-long student team project is included as a graded activity. Successful completion of the project fulfills three course objectives where students learn 1) to compose professional reports in teams and demonstrate effective communication skills, 2) to apply introductory concepts of materials science well enough to follow technical articles on various topics, and 3) to locate resources to gather additional information related to a topic. To help students learn to research a topic, to write, to work in teams, and to speak publicly, the course includes guest lectures with various instructors with expertise in library research skills, technical writing, and communication studies. Course assessment indicates that sophomores find their projects interesting and they report learning a lot about the topics they selected. Interventions in the early stages of the curriculum allow the students to perform better during their senior year Capstone Design Project. The details of how the projects are managed will be described.
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Isaacs, J.A. Managing Student Group Projects in an Introductory Materials Science Course. MRS Online Proceedings Library 760, 24 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-760-JJ2.4