NUE: Nanotechnology LINK: An integrated approach for nanotechnology education: End-of-life management of nanomaterial-containing wastes

Funding agency: 
National Science Foundation
09/01/2013 - 00:00 to 08/31/2016 - 00:00
Summary: 

This NUE in Engineering program entitled, "NUE: Nanotechnology LINK: An integrated approach for nanotechnology education: End of life management of nanomaterial-containing wastes", at the University of South Carolina (USC), under the direction of Dr. Nicole Berge, has as its goal to develop an integrated undergraduate nanotechnology theme within the currently existing Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) curriculum at USC that focuses on the environmental implications associated with the end-of-life management of nanomaterial-containing products, materials, and nanomaterial manufacturing waste streams to produce a more informed and competitive CEE workforce.

To accomplish this goal, the project team plans to develop nanotechnology problem-based hands-on modules following a pedagogical approach referred to as Environments for Fostering Effective Critical Thinking (EFFECTs). EFFECTs use student-centered learning strategies to promote deep learning, enhance conceptual understanding, and stimulate growth in critical thinking skills. The EFFECTs approach has become institutionalized within the USC CEE curriculum. However, even though EFFECTs have been developed and implemented in a significant number of courses, these EFFECTs are independent and unrelated. Dr. Berge and her team propose to create an EFFECT LINK (Learning Integration of New Knowledge) for teaching and learning of nanotechnology content across the curriculum, which is referred to as the Nanotechnology LINK. As part of this integrated approach, students will assemble nanotechnology-themed electronic portfolios, building content knowledge as they advance through a sequence of courses. In addition, students will have the option of participating in an undergraduate nanotechnology-based research experience and graduate with a Leadership Distinction in Research.

The development and implementation of the proposed Nanotechnology LINK framework will result in the generation and refinement of a transformative educational approach of linking student learning across a curriculum to enhance student learning of other techniques/concepts. In addition, knowledge associated with the environmental implications associated with the end-of-life management of nanomaterial-containing wastes will be advanced. To date, there has been little research in this area. This work will also result in better-prepared civil and environmental engineers.

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