Ohio State’s Engineering Education Innovation Center

The engineering education innovation center
here at Ohio State really helps build the experience for undergraduate engineering students.
Looking at the student in the development process for the student and saying: “okay
we want them to be ready for the practice of engineering in a global environment.” We’re
gonna start that in the first-year getting them good, solid experience in what engineering
is, the design process. We have a number of design-build projects
in which students actually get to solve an engineering, real-world problem. To help cement
the students’ idea of what engineering is about — engineers make stuff. And so we give
them the opportunity in their first year to put their hands on something, and to build
something, to break something, to see how it works, to make it work better. It’s all
about the engineering of products that we use, and systems that we use.
Just like we tell our engineering students they have to be innovative, creative and be
trying new things and validating those. That’s part of our role within the center is to lead
that innovation charge in engineering education itself.
In the EEIC, we really approach engineering education from the research to practice cycle.
Where we do fundamental knowledge generation to the research side of it, but and we also
do the practice side of it. And really are in the classroom trying to innovate and trying
to do great things. So there’s definitely a synergy between the research and practice.
And I think at Ohio State, we really embrace that whole idea.
This program is definitely helping to make me a better engineering educator. I realize
that you need knowledge and learning to get there, but because that bridge is really the
application piece, I enjoy teaching and implementing it. You typically work in groups or teams
so you have like a lead instructor, a graduate teaching associate, and the undergraduates
who assist as well — so being able to work within a team environment while teaching is
also something that is very beneficial. Engineering education innovation center really
sets a pattern of education for our students that just gets them into experiential learning,
teamwork experience, communication experience and continue that on through our multi-disciplinary
capstone where they can do industry-sponsored projects get them ready to go out and be practicing
engineers. My corporate sponsor is Snowville Creamery;
Warren Taylor is the CEO and founder. He has worked with us hand in hand the whole way
really. It’s a water conservation project, it’s something that he had to do as a company
in order to continue producing with their growing quantities of milk and ice cream production.
I got to go down and really see a lot of implementation and results. For me this was a great learning
experience for me to see how a really good sustainable dairy industry works and be part
of — being part of it has been really cool. Students that go through our capstone program
and work with companies grow not just from an academic experience, but also from a professional
experience. A lot of these companies come to us looking for new innovative ideas. Our
students are phenomenal and we hear this from our companies. We see a lot of these companies
interested in our students as employees after this program as well.
The breadth of what you see at one of these events is quite amazing. We see it as a good
opportunity to interface with a lot of great engineering students. A big part of the capstone
program is education for the students. We see a benefit in in sometimes getting a fresh
creative idea that we are able to actually provide some actual benefit back into the
company. To participate in the capstone program we get to see very clearly how a, given student
a prospective, future employee at Honda works within a team environment.
We work very hard on connecting our students to other students. We get them connected to
faculty; we get them connected to the profession of engineering. They’re not just another number
in the student database. They’re engineers at Ohio State and we’re connected to them.
We’re really ramping up the different practice that we do in the classroom, how our students
are learning, and how our teachers are teaching and trying to find new innovative ways to
do that. We understand engineering context and we also understand educational practice.
I truly believe that we are making better engineers.
We need through the EEIC to make sure that we’re doing the best scholarship we can around
engineering education, so that we can share that with the rest of engineering educators
in our community to prove engineering education here in the US and globally.

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