STEM Education

February 2021 , Volume 1 , Issue 1

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The trifecta for curriculum sustainability in Australian universities
William Guo, Wei Li, Roland Dodd and Ergun Gide
2021, 1(1): 1-16 doi: 10.3934/steme.2021001 +[Abstract](49) +[HTML](16) +[PDF](438.34KB)

Commercialization and internationalization of tertiary education has opened a new way for universities to grow and make more profit. This in turn has supported sustainable growth of the higher education sector for the last three decades in developed countries. Curricula offered by accredited tertiary institutions must meet the quality standards set by both the governmental agencies and the professional accreditation bodies. These programs must also provide graduates with employment opportunities. Hence, quality and employment opportunities are the two key factors for sustainability of any degree program offered by tertiary institutions. However, changes in regulations and policies by the national government sometimes play a vital role in creating new programs, and maintaining or disestablishing some existing programs offered by institutions in the nation. These changes are not controlled by individual institutions, which has become the third unpredictable factor in curriculum creation and/or sustainability. Using the journey of a new master's program in information technology (IT) in an Australian university as a case study, we explore how this third factor impacted on the initialization, creation, and short life of this program primarily targeting international students in the mid-2000s. We then extend our discussion to the implications of the recent changes to tertiary tuitions from 2021 by the Australian Government on the sustainable future of the Australian tertiary education sector on a broad scale.

Redundancy understanding and theory for robotics teaching: Application on a human finger model
Med Amine Laribi and Saïd Zeghloul
2021, 1(1): 17-31 doi: 10.3934/steme.2021002 +[Abstract](38) +[HTML](16) +[PDF](1148.22KB)

This paper introduces the concept of redundancy in robotics to students in master degree based on a didactic approach. The definition as well as theoretical description related to redundancy are presented. The example of a human finger is considered to illustrate the redundancy with biomechanical point of view. At the same time, the finger is used to facilitate the comprehension and apply theoretical development to solve direct and inverse kinematics problems. Three different tasks are considered with different degree of redundancy. All developments are implemented under Matlab and validated in simulation on CAD software.

Interactive MATLAB based project learning in a robotics course: Challenges and achievements
Lotfi Romdhane and Mohammad A. Jaradat
2021, 1(1): 32-46 doi: 10.3934/steme.2021003 +[Abstract](38) +[HTML](17) +[PDF](1212.87KB)

This paper illustrates the conducted efforts for deploying an interactive project-based learning for robotics course using MATLAB. This project is part of a first course on robotics at the graduate level. The course combines both the theoretical and practical aspects to achieve its goals. The course consists of a set of laboratory sessions ends with a class project, these labs experimentally illustrate the modeling, simulation, path-planning and control of the Robot, using the robotics toolbox under MATLAB tools as well as physical interaction with the different robot platforms. The interaction between the student and the physical robot platforms is finally addressed in the class project; in this project, two tasks are considered. The first one is to control a 5DoF robot manipulator to perform a pick and place task. Initially the task is simulated under MATLAB robotics toolbox; the robot is commended to pick objects from initially known poses and stacks them in target poses. Furthermore, the robot manipulator in the second part of the project, with the aid of a vision system, is commended to work as an autonomous robotic arm that picks up colored objects, and then places them in different poses, based on their identified colors. The demonstrated results from the course evolution and assessment tools reflect the benefits of high-level deployment of robot platform in interactive project based learning to increase the students' performance in the course, about 100% and 75% of the student groups successfully completed the required tasks in the project first part and second part respectively.

The Virtual reality electrical substation field trip: Exploring student perceptions and cognitive learning
Erdem Memik and Sasha Nikolic
2021, 1(1): 47-59 doi: 10.3934/steme.2021004 +[Abstract](36) +[HTML](18) +[PDF](558.8KB)

COVID19 has disrupted many higher education's learning experiences, including those related to work integrated learning. This included the cancelling of the annual electrical engineering field trip to a local electrical substation. Field trips provides students an opportunity to connect their classroom learning with industry relevant engaging experiences. While virtual reality (VR) alternatives to electrical substations have been implemented and researched, the focus has been on the innovation and not on the educational benefits. The impact on learning is not well documented and understood. To address this gap an experimental study is conducted on fifty electrical engineering students at the University of Wollongong to determine if a VR replica of an electrical substation can provide an equal or better learning and student experience compared to traditional methods. A successful finding would provide confidence to implement such alternatives for situations that include: addressing COVID disruptions; for students that miss the field trip; and for providers that don't have the funds or resources to visit a substation. It was found that the VR substation simulation provided a comparable student experience and stronger cognitive learning benefits than traditional methods. Further research is needed to explore learning impact beyond the cognitive domain.

Innovation event model for STEM education: A constructivism perspective
Changyan Di, Qingguo Zhou, Jun Shen, Li Li, Rui Zhou and Jiayin Lin
2021, 1(1): 60-74 doi: 10.3934/steme.2021005 +[Abstract](44) +[HTML](11) +[PDF](688.2KB)

STEM education aims to cultivate innovative talents by improving students' ability to comprehensively apply interdisciplinary knowledge in solving practical problems. This paper first develops an innovation event model through the analysis of 50 historical innovation events that can be traced back to whole human history. The model divides the realization process of those innovation events into four steps: 1) pointing out a problem, 2) proposing solutions to the problem, 3) concrete implementation of those solutions, and 4) iterative modification process. And then, the relationship between innovation event model and STEM education is established from the perspectives of subject integration and constructivism of STEM education. Based on this model, we can understand some key issues in the implementation of STEM education from a top-down view, including the nature of STEM education, the knowledge integration model, and the relationship between subject-specific education and integrated education. This will help to gradually improve our cognition and understanding of STEM education, so as to achieve its initial goal of integrated and innovative education. This article will contribute to a holistic rethinking about how to renovate STEM education in different levels of schools and colleges, equipped with such an innovation event model.



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