Planting seeds: Introducing nanotechnology education into engineering curricula

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As part of a Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education program funded by NSF, a team of faculty at Michigan Technological University has developed a suite of educational and research experiences intended to introduce undergraduate students to the exciting prospects and challenges of nanoscale science and engineering. Although open to all students, the program was designed in particular for engineering students whose curricula have relatively little flexibility. Engineering students at Michigan Tech follow a common first-year curriculum, and as is true at most engineering colleges, their courses of study are highly structured. In order to bring introductory nanotechnology content to both engineering and non-engineering majors, activities were developed to fit into or to modestly supplement existing curricular frameworks. The program seeks to introduce students to three foundational aspects of work at the nanoscale: the underlying scientific principles, possible scientific and engineering applications, and the societal implications of implementation of nanotechnology. A web site (http://nano.mtu.edu/) was developed as a central focal point for nano-related research activities at Michigan Tech. This paper presents additional background and discusses the challenges related to the project, a brief overview of the educational activities, a more in-depth description of those activities deemed to be the most successful, and a description of some lessons learned.

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© 2008 Materials Research Society. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1557/PROC-0931-KK01-08

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MRS Proceedings