Category Archives: Materials education

2018 Michael Ashby Outstanding Materials Educator Award

In recognition for his exceptional contributions to the field of materials science and engineering, Prof. Stephen Krause was awarded the ‘Michael Ashby Outstanding Materials Educator Award’ at this year’s ASEE conference in Salt Lake City.

Nominated by Dr. Cynthia Waters, she explains: “Steve has been described as the “Pied Piper” of Materials Active learning.  He continually and with excitement shares his “Music” and many follow.  This music includes methods and tools to increase learning in a Material Science classroom.  One cannot find a more genuine and sharing mentor and Engineering Education leader.”

A worthy winner of this year’s award, Stephen has long been instrumental in many engineering education initiatives, not least the Materials Concept Inventory. Co-developed with Prof. Richard Griffin, of Texas A&M University, the strategy is an interesting methodology which can be used to measure students’ conceptual changes. By exploring common misconceptions, which he has termed the ‘Muddiest Points’, Stephen has been able to quickly identify key topics, which his classes find most challenging.

Further explained in his 2013 ASEE paper, titled ‘Muddiest Point Formative Feedback in Core Materials Classes with YouTube, Blackboard, Class Warm-ups and Word Clouds’, Stephen reviews the effectiveness of four different feedback modes, based on the Muddiest Points responses.

You can read more about Stephen’s achievements here, as well as joining us for a no-cost live webinar on the November 8 when Stephen will be available for questions. Register here.

We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Alison Polaski who received the ‘New Materials Educator Award’, for her exceptional achievements as an early-career professional.

A clear view of the materials paradigm

The CES EduPack Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E) Package is a set of resources that allows students to explore the relationships between the Processing, Structure and Properties of materials

 

Educators teaching introductory materials science courses know the drill: we have large classes filled with students from diverse backgrounds, with divergent aspirations and interests. And as with any type of compulsory learning experience, we look out onto a sea of people – some of whom want to be there; some don’t – and are tasked with finding how best to convey an understanding of a vast range of scale and concepts. Arguably, at this introductory level, the most fundamental of which is the relationship between Process, Structure, and Properties – otherwise known as the materials paradigm.

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Teaching about Sustainable Critical Materials

SusCritMat will host its first Winter School in Les Diablerets, Switzerland

SusCritMat will host its first Winter School in Les Diablerets, Switzerland

 

The risk management of critical materials supply chain for industries in renewable energy sectors is an important factor for success. Thus, knowledge about the topics related to critical raw materials, their environmental and social impact, principles of eco design and materials selection methodology are all important for future engineers to be prepared dealing with the real-world industrial challenges to deliver safer, greener and cleaner products.

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Taking the heat: how the right materials will get us to Mars

Mars Lander

In terms of sheer coolness, very few things come close to NASA – especially if you happen to be an avid Sci-Fi fan like me. With that in mind, two stories that emphasise the critical role materials selection plays in the quest towards space exploration have caught my eye.

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Engineering, Aesthetics, and Materials – making vital connections

Successful products require Engineers and Designers to collaborate, often around materials choices: balancing performance with aesthetics for the ideal product experience. Engineering curricula don’t always recognise the importance of this connection. Engineers and Designers get only a limited understanding of each other’s work, while Materials is often an under-appreciated subject. Cambridge Engineering Professor, Mike Ashby, published the book “Materials and Design” in 2009 and has worked on several learning tools to inspire Design and Engineering students about each other’s subjects, and about materials. But it has proved hard to marry the quantitative engineering perspective with descriptions of aesthetics that are often variable and culturally-dependent.

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What tools do students need to understand sustainable development and its importance for the future of engineering?

At Granta, we recently ran a survey to explore the challenges of teaching sustainable development. Key findings, from 200 plus responses, indicated that academics would welcome more case studies with real data, and a global perspective on interlinked environmental and social impacts. The feedback was consistent with my own experience, as a PhD at the Centre for Sustainable Development where I did research in social and environmental impact assessment tools. I was also closely involved in teaching, and subsequently co-developed a start-up company focusing on software and learning. From these experiences, it was clear that software can have a large impact on teaching and outreach. I’m now working as Development Manager and Sustainability Consultant in the Education Team at Granta, collaborating with the academic community and Professor Mike Ashby to develop teaching resources that support the sustainable development subject-area.

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Goodbye to ‘students versus teachers’?

The final talk at the 2nd Asian Materials Education Symposium, delivered by Mr Gilbert Teo of Singapore Polytechnic, centred on the benefits of peer-based learning and, more specifically, re-designing a course to encourage students to learn from each other. This method of learning moves away from the conventional student vs teacher stereotype and explores the role of a facilitator and how we can incorporate technology. Not only was this a reflective way to end the highly successful Symposium, but it sparked a great deal of discussion. With students acting more like consumers and wanting the best learning experiences from their education, engaging them is more important than ever.

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Meet the team at Granta Design

The second in a series in which we meet the Granta team. We spoke with our colleague Pippa, to find out what she enjoys about being an Education Account Manager, and which scientist and material inspires her most. We’re always looking for like-minded individuals who have passion and drive to make positive change to our educational practices, take a look at our current opportunities if you think this could be you.

“As a member of the Education division I work with universities and colleges across the globe including the UK, Netherlands, Singapore, and Australia. I support them in the use of both CES EduPack and CES Selector, for teaching and research respectively, from initial engagement to see if the software will help their current teaching right through to advising them on the deployment and use of the software.

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CES Selector – two decades of progress, with more to come

polymide-thumbnail“I was looking at every material possible, calling suppliers, trying to get hold of materials and price lists. With CES Selector, I could have saved months and months of work!”

That is what Dr Charlie Bream told me about several materials selection projects in his 14-year career prior to joining Granta in 2007, developing aerospace, automotive and consumer products – he had never used CES Selector until that point, now he is the Product Manager.

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Two views, one vision – designers and engineers making great products

abs-pellets-thumbnailIf two heads are better than one, imagine the benefits of two communities coming together to share each other’s views on materials and processes to make the best designed, best engineered products. That’s the premise behind a new educational project at Granta Design.

If we can inspire designers and engage engineers to learn about each other’s vital role in product development, and enable them to communicate in the common language of materials, we can arrive at a whole that is much greater than the sum of the parts. Two views, one vision. The new CES EduPack ‘Products, Materials and Processes’ Database offers university educators and their students two views of materials information, the Designer’s View and the Engineer’s View, so both can learn how to create successful products that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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