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  1. A new 3D focal control system composed of arrayed optofluidic prisms is presented. Through dynamic control of the fluid-fluid interface via electrowetting, incoming rays are spatially steered to achieve 3D focal control. Analytical study identifies the prism angle required to obtain a focal point at Pfocal = (fx, fy, fz) located in 3D space. Experimentally, an arrayed system has demonstrated its 3D focal tunability along 0 ≤ fx ≤ 30, 0 ≤ fy ≤ 30, and 500 ≤ fz ≤ ∞ in millimeters. This new lens capability for 3D focal control can be potentially used for tracking eye movement for smart displays, or solar tracking for smart compact concentrated photovoltaic systems.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. In WSe2 intense THz fields are found to enhance transmission at 400 nm, while reducing it at 800 nm. The differential transmission is proportional to the field amplitude. The nonlinear responses are fast, yet non-adiabatic.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  3. Engineering education researchers and practitioners have driven instructional innovation in undergraduate engineering instruction. Much of the research about educational innovation has focused on undergraduate classrooms in large enrollment courses and/or research-intensive institutions. Propagation of innovations across settings, especially those quite unlike the original context, has received less attention in the literature. This includes liberal arts institutions, which collectively educate a large number of undergraduate engineering students in various contexts. Therefore, this study focuses on the implementation of an instructional innovation in a liberal arts institution that started a new engineering program to educate a regional engineering workforce. This qualitative study documented the experiences of one engineering instructor who adopted and adapted a blended learning environment for undergraduate dynamics designed to promote active and collaborative learning in undergraduate engineering courses. We analyzed interviews, documents, artifacts, visual materials, and field notes to examine the propagation of the instructional system in context with cultural features in local institution settings. Our findings show how an engineering instructor orchestrated a culture-aligned adoption and adaptation of an instructional innovation. Using reflective practice, the research participant adapted the implemented innovative instruction to their hands-on institution culture, such as adjusting expectations in content, adapting resources to students’ individualmore »needs, adjusting uncertainty of problem solving, and adapting to a hands-on institution culture. This research highlights the important role of institutional culture in local adaptations of educational innovations, and it provides the community with an expanded way to think about innovation propagation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 29, 2023
  4. Over the past two decades, educators have used computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) to integrate technology with pedagogy to improve student engagement and learning outcomes. Researchers have also explored the diverse affordances of CSCL, its contributions to engineering instruction, and its effectiveness in K-12 STEM education. However, the question of how students use CSCL resources in undergraduate engineering classrooms remains largely unexplored. This study examines the affordances of a CSCL environment utilized in a sophomore dynamics course with particular attention given to the undergraduate engineering students’ use of various CSCL resources. The resources include a course lecturebook, instructor office hours, a teaching assistant help room, online discussion board, peer collaboration, and demonstration videos. This qualitative study uses semi-structured interview data collected from nine mechanical engineering students (four women and five men) who were enrolled in a dynamics course at a large public research university in Eastern Canada. The interviews focused on the individual student’s perceptions of the school, faculty, students, engineering courses, and implemented CSCL learning environment. The thematic analysis was conducted to analyze the transcribed interviews using a qualitative data analysis software (Nvivo). The analysis followed a six step process: (1) reading interview transcripts multiple times and preliminary in vivomore »codes; (2) conducting open coding by coding interesting or salient features of the data; (3) collecting codes and searching for themes; (4) reviewing themes and creating a thematic map; (5) finalizing themes and their definitions; and (6) compiling findings. This study found that the students’ use of CSCL resources varied depending on the students’ personal preferences, as well as their perceptions of the given resource’s value and its potential to enhance their learning. For example, the dynamics lecturebook, which had been redesigned to encourage problem solving and note-taking, fostered student collaborative problem solving with their peers. In contrast, the professor’s example video solutions had much more of an influence on students’ independent problem-solving processes. The least frequently used resource was the course’s online discussion forum, which could be used as a means of communication. The findings reveal how computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments enable engineering students to engage in multiple learning opportunities with diverse and flexible resources to both address and to clarify their personal learning needs. This study strongly recommends engineering instructors adapt a CSCL environment for implementation in their own unique classroom context.« less
  5. ABSTRACT CONTEXT Culture influences the dynamics and outcomes of organizations in profound ways, including individual-level outcomes (like the quality of work products) and collective impacts (such as reputation or influence). As such, understanding organizational culture is a crucial element of understanding performance; from an anthropological perspective, ‘performance’ is not an outcome of culture, it is a part of culture. A key challenge in understanding organizational culture, especially in complex academic organizations, is the lack of a flexible, scalable approach for data collection and analysis. PURPOSE OR GOAL In this study, we report on our development of a survey-based cultural characterization tool that leverages both lightweight data collection from stakeholders in the organization and public information about that organization. We also integrate perspectives from prior literature about faculty, students, and staff in academic departments. Taken together, the resulting survey covers key elements of culture and allows for scalable data collection across settings via customizations and embedded logic in the survey itself. The outcome of this work is a design process for a new and promising tool for scalable cultural characterization, and we have deployed this tool across two institutions. APPROACH OR METHODOLOGY/METHODS We leverage prior research, our own preliminary data collection,more »and our experience with this approach in a different setting to develop a cultural characterization survey suitable for delivery to multiple engineering department stakeholders (faculty, staff, and students). We start with a modest number of interviews, stratified by these three groups and achieving saturation of responses, to understand their views on their organization, its strengths and weaknesses, and their perceptions of how it ‘works’. We merge this information with public data (for instance, departmental vision or mission statements, which convey a sense of priorities or values) as well as prior literature about higher education culture. We also draw upon our experience in another setting as well as pilot testing data, and the result is a carefully-constructed set of dichotomous items that are offered to department stakeholders in survey form using an electronic survey platform. We also collect background and demographic information in the survey. The resulting data are analyzed using Cultural Consensus Theory (CCT) to extract meaningful information about the departmental culture from the perspectives of the stakeholder groups. ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES The resulting survey consists of two parts, each with sub-components. The two top level survey parts contain: (i) items common to all respondents in all settings (i.e. all institutions in this study), and (ii) a set of institution-specific items. Within those sections, the framing of the items is calibrated for the stakeholder groups so that items make sense to them within the context of their experience. The survey has been administered, and the data are being analyzed and interpreted presently. We expect the results to capture the specific elements of local culture within these institutions, as well as differences in perspectives and experience among the three primary stakeholder groups. CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY This study demonstrates a scalable approach to survey development for the purposes of cultural characterization, and its use across settings and with multiple stakeholder groups. This work enables a very nuanced view of culture within a department, and these results can be used within academic departments to enable discussion about change, priorities, performance, and the work environment.« less