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Innovations in undergraduate engineering education through NSF ILI and NASA JOVE program-sponsored development of a laboratory course sequence in semiconductor materials

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1 Author(s)
Engelken, R.D. ; Dept. of Eng., Arkansas State Univ., AR, USA

This paper describes development of two undergraduate laboratory courses in semiconductor materials and devices. The project was supported through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement (ILI) Grant with supplementary support from the NASA JOVE Program, Arkansas State University, and equipment vendors. The courses complement lecture courses, cover semiconductor growth, characterization, processing, and simple devices, and enhance intuition of abstract concepts. They consist of “Activity Sets” covering particular topics and consisting of three related but distinct experiments, one each to be performed by a two-four-person team. Each team orally presents results of its experiment and all results are then discussed to form overall Activity Set conclusions. Innovations include use of compound semiconductor thin-film samples grown by liquid solution techniques directly by student teams, and team research on original topics during the second course. Emphasis is also on laboratory and chemical safety, technical communication through laboratory notebooks, oral presentations, and formal reports, and creative and team-oriented solutions of frequent, experimental challenges. Students are provided “open-ended” experiences more typical of the “real world” than in many instructional laboratories. The popular courses enhance student confidence, maturity, and marketability

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Nov 1997

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