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Audio Archive for Conversation on Teaching 9-25-13


[MP3 1hr 22min 46sec]

Tom Withrow’s PowerPoint Presentation


Students as Producers: Incorporating research and design into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) classes

Date: Wednesday, September 25th
Time: 4:10 – 5:30
Location: Center for Teaching
Facilitator: Cynthia Brame
Audience: Faculty, Students (Undergraduate and Graduate), and Staff

What do you consider to be the pinnacle of your field? For many of us, it’s the discovery of new knowledge or the design of a new solution to a thorny problem. We want our students to engage with these hard tasks—to do more than memorize existing results, to actually engage in aspects of the discovery process—but it can be challenging to fit these opportunities in credit-bearing courses.

This panel highlights three Vanderbilt STEM faculty members who have integrated compelling research and design questions into their courses.

John Ayers
incorporates a service-learning project in which Geochemistry students research environmental contaminants in soil and water samples from North Nashville homes, producing environmental hazard reports for the homeowners.
Students in Mark Woelfle’s Genetics lab generate and characterize mutants in a key pathway for DNA synthesis and present their work in a journal-style article, clarifying their understanding of the pathway and the process by which our understanding grows.

Tom Withrow
developed an entire course in Mechanical Engineering in which students designed, developed, and tested an amphibious vehicle to compete in the Model-Based Amphibious Racing Challenge.   This term, he’ll be teaching another edition of this course.