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129th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Excellence Through Diversity, ASEE 2022 ; 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2046988


Microcontroller programming is an essential part of K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Experience with microcontroller programming is a gateway to many topics in this discipline, such as electrical engineering and programming. Hands-on experiences using microcontrollers are critical for student engagement and deeper understanding. However, as classes and field trips transitioned online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators encountered many difficulties adapting the microcontroller experiments to remote online education. One challenge is that traditional computer software for microcontroller experiments is not easy to set up. In remote education, students cannot be expected to install the software and do the configurations on their own computers at home. The second problem is that it is hard to monitor the students' progress and give feedback in real-time. Even though there are many online collaborative coding platforms, none of them support microcontrollers. In this paper, we introduce a comprehensive solution for remote education featuring microcontrollers. An online education platform was developed that allows the students to program the microcontroller using CircuitPython with no software installation or configuration. It also allows instructors to monitor students' work remotely in real-time. In addition, a microcontroller development board for experiments in which students apply programming knowledge to the function of traffic lights was designed. A CircuitPython module for the development board was also developed, which allowed the students to focus more on the logic of the traffic lights and less on potential hardware issues. This online education solution can also be adapted to meet different needs by designing different development boards for different scenarios, including breadboard experiments to focus on circuits, adopting more powerful microcontrollers for advanced programming, and a variety of other applications for use in differentiated instruction. The proposed traffic lights engineering academy was provided to a local school district and got positive feedback. The experiences and best practices are also discussed in this paper. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2022.

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1695395


Creating community among new graduate students in a COVID world prompted the development of a two-week virtual orientation program for engineering and applied sciences graduate students at a research university. Despite the complexity of multiple time zones, technology challenges, and the virtual space, the program sought to accomplish three goals: (1) community building among students;(2) intellectual engagement with faculty in the home departments;and (3) career development as a foundation for their overall graduate school experience. Participants (N=350 MS or PhD students) were introduced to support services (e.g., health and counseling, ombuds) and student organizations, attended workshops on digital literacy and technology tools, gained perspective from alumni and industry panels, and began their personal career development plan. Evaluations were highly positive, with means of 3.5 - 4.4 on a 5.0 scale, with 5 being very satisfied. Additionally, 98 first-year PhD students were also enrolled in a rigorous and comprehensive online asynchronous TA training, with high satisfaction scores from those who completed the training. While virtual delivery may have limitations, this program has clearly demonstrated that a pre-arrival program can add value to the graduate student on-boarding process and improve the welcome culture at educational institutions. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2021

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1695305


The K-12 education platform has drastically taken a different route since the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic. With the classroom being transitioned to online, educators are presented with many challenges to keep their class engaged. The curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is possibly the toughest to adapt to remote instruction, given that participants may no longer have access to many school labs or school STEM resources. Moreover, science and engineering in-person outreach programs are no longer feasible due to the pandemic and one cannot help but question whether the adoption of the hands-on instructional strategies pioneered by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will be able to be maintained. Faculty and graduate assistants at Stony Brook University in New York developed a unique, remote, yet hands-on engineering opportunity for middle school participants over the course of five 90-minute sessions of synchronous learning. Asynchronous learning was also available through a website populated with detailed manuals and short videos demonstrating the activities and office hours helped participants to clarify questions and finish their designs and prototypes. Through this Engineering Academy experience, participants (N=90), from across Long Island, were exposed to real-world applications of 3D printing and electrical and materials/chemical engineering, as well as the engineering design process. Questionnaires were administered pre- and post-every session to learn about participants' engineering literacy while post Academy surveys were collected to analyze both participants' engineering self-efficacy and knowledge. Future science and engineering curricular efforts may utilize and replicate the learned best practices to ensure a sustainable implementation of the NGSS via online or hybrid (online and in-person) learning opportunities. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2021