NSF Awards Grant to LETU Engineering Faculty for Work on Engineering Education


The National Science Foundation recently awarded a grant to support Dr. Melanie Watson's work in engineering education. Watson, an assistant professor of engineering at LETU, is the first female engineering professor in LETU's history.
The grant is an NSF "Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics" (TUES) Type 1 grant, titled "Open-Source Problems for Engineering Studies: Making the WeB WorK." Since electronic engineering homework delivery is a newly emerging area, Watson's research and assessment potentially can shape future direction in engineering education.
Watson is co-principal investigator on the $249,900 grant, which runs for three years, through June 30, 2016. The grant is for generating open source homework for three sophomore engineering courses in classes such as Statics and Mechanics of Materials, Electrical Engineering and Circuits and Thermodynamics, which are part of the core curriculum of any engineering program.
"Since electronically delivered homework is becoming ever more popular in higher education, the need to develop online homework for engineering students that could maximize efficient use of faculty resources and meet the needs of today's students became apparent," Watson said.
"The WeBWorK homework delivery tool has been used in mathematics in over 300 institutions," she said. "Our goal is to generate a repository, a digital library, of engineering problems that can be made available worldwide for free public use. Our grant also includes research to study the effect of online engineering homework on student learning."

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