Category Archives: Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

News and Updates from the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). For more news and information about the department, please visit:
http://ceeo.tufts.edu

Heffernan wins national teaching award

Alumnus and CEEO affiliate John Heffernan

Alumnus and CEEO affiliate John Heffernan

John Heffernan is a part-time lecturer at the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) and a two-time Tufts alumni, with a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering. He’s also the technology teacher for pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students at the Anne T. Dunphy School in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

Heffernan was recently honored with the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award recognizes outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country.

“We must nurture the natural engineering instincts of young children. We cannot wait until middle and high school to interest students in engineering,” says Heffernan. Read more.

Rogers Interviewed by CNC Machine Company

Professor Chris Rogers, department chair of Mechanical Engineering

Professor and Chair Chris Rogers was interviewed about his educational philosophy by Owen Smithyman, a blogger for Other Machine Co., a company that produces CNC machines.

Read more of the “LEGO and Super Soakers” interview:

What are some things that you do in your Mechanical Engineering classes to ensure that students learn the material, that you would like to see more of in higher education?

Nonstandard projects. We always talk about people trying to get the “right” answer, which would be a solution diversity of zero — everybody having the same answer — as opposed to giving a problem where people can come up with their own answers.

One year in my robotics class, the problem was to build robots that play acoustic instruments. And so there were robots that played the bagpipes, the trombone, the mandolin, the piano, the xylophone, the ukulele. Because there are all these different solutions, they’re all learning different skills, and then they teach them to each other.

So instead of trying to have everybody learn the same information, how can we develop courses where everybody learns different information and learns how to talk to each other and leverage each other, just like we do in the business world? Why do we want everybody to learn the exact same thing in Fluids class or in Controls class or whatever? Wouldn’t it be far more powerful if we taught them how to talk to one another but then had them specialize and have their own expertise and have different projects?

WBUR’s Learning Lab features CEEO and Malden High School Maker Space

Peter Balonon-Rosen of WBUR’s Learning Lab blog wrote a piece about the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) and their work with student at Malden High School. In the piece “Inquiry-Based Arts And Engineering Space Enriches Student Learning“, Balonon-Rosen talks with Assistant Professor Ben Shapiro about the CEEO and the value of maker spaces.

“Historically when you look in schools where there is inquiry-based learning, it’s the kids who are sort of on the most high-track academic track who get that in their classes and the kids who are not there tend to have much more traditional didactic instruction,” said Shapiro, a McDonnell Family Professor of Engineering Education at Tufts University, who helped secure the grant.

“We wondered if we could … create conditions in the school where all kids, including the kids who are not seen as the most-likely academic high achievers, get to do inquiry as part of their everyday learning,” Shapiro said.

Proof of Concept Robotic Programming Lends A Stress-Free Hand

Summer Scholar Chris Shinn, E15, hopes to reduce musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace through human-robot interaction.

The intended application is in diagnostic laboratories to reduce repetitive motion injuries. Currently lab techs must open and close hundreds of jars every day. Every year thousands of man-hours are lost due to such injuries, and costing employers and employees alike millions of dollars. While there’s plenty of room for improving the speed, Shinn’s work demonstrates a proof of concept for human-friendly robots such as Baxter to use tools to extend their utility and to integrate them into the work flow of laboratories and similar workplaces.

This video from Chris Shinn in the Human Factors program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering shows ongoing research with the Baxter robot. Located in the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), Baxter opens and closes a specimen jar using a tool to overcome positioning uncertainty in its “hands.” Another special adapter on the other hand is employed to operate a pipette.