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Howdy !. EPICS EXPERIENCE AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY. Lale Yurttas and Grant Brammer Department of Chemical Engineering Department of Computer Science Computer Engineering . EPICS at TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY. How it all started? EPICS Workshop at Texas A&M by Prof. Oakes in Jan. 2007.

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Lale Yurttas and Grant Brammer

Department of Chemical Engineering

Department of Computer Science Computer Engineering

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  • How it all started?

    • EPICS Workshop at Texas A&M by Prof. Oakes in Jan. 2007.

    • Exploratory committee was formed in Mar. 2007, chaired by Dr. Valerie Taylor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

    • Initial meetings were attended by 6-7 engineering departments

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  • Meetings were held every other week.

  • Departments attended the meetings regularly were:

    • Chemical Engineering

    • Computer Science and Computer Engineering

    • Industrial Engineering

  • An A&M representative, Marlo Nordt , attended the EPICS Conference in May 2007.

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Service Learning Experience in Chemical Engineering Department

  • Chemical Engineering Department had prior experience in service learning through an NSF Grant it received in 2006.

  • One of the objectives of the project was to introduce service learning into CHEN Curriculum.

  • Service learning was introduced to two sophomore level courses:

    • Energy and Material Balances (Habitat for Humanity Project)

    • Thermodynamics I (Engineers Without Borders Guatemala Project)

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Committee Decision Department

  • Committee decided to offer the first pilot course in Spring 2008

  • Two courses were set up:

    • ENGR289 for freshmen and sophomores

    • ENGR489 for juniors and seniors

  • Variable credit up to 2 hrs

  • Each Student’s department decided how to use the credit

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Spring 2008 Department

Course Structure

  • Two projects were offered

    • Texas A&M Recycling Project

    • Habitat for Humanity Green Home Project

  • Upper level students who were enrolled in 2 credit hours were given team leader roles.

  • A diverse group of 23 engineering students were enrolled in the pilot course:

    • 35 % female

    • 65 % male

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Project Descriptions Department

  • TAMU Recycling: Every week, Texas A&M University recycles over 15 tons of paper and cardboard. The amount recycled could be increased dramatically, but doing so requires addressing a host of technical and organizational issues.

    • Dr. Andy Banerjee, Industrial Engineering

    • 8 students

  • Green Housing for Habitat for Humanity: This project involves the design of a green home for Habitat for Humanity. The team will consider designs that minimize the energy consumption, water usage, and waste, in addition to considering the total cost.

    • Dr. Lale Yurttas, Chemical Engineering

    • 15 students, 1 project leader, 3 team leaders, 3 teams

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Cont. Department

  • Class met once a week for 1 hr 15 min.

  • Also a weekly regular meeting time was set up by the student teams outside the class.

  • Field Trips to

    • City of Austin, TX

    • Habitat Angel’s Gate Subdivision

    • Texas A&M Recycling Center

  • Wiki approach was used to set up a web page


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Lectures on Department

  • Project Management

  • Habitat for Humanity

    • Non-profit organization structure

    • Families, background, needs

    • Housing design, materials, energy and water systems

    • Fund raising

  • Texas A&M Recycling, current status, process, obstacles

  • Energy Systems Laboratory

    • Green design

    • Calculations, software tools

  • Oral presentation

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Volunteering Experiences Department

  • Volunteering at Habitat Construction site (Angel’s Gate).

    • Each student wrote one page reflection on their experience

      • “ After a day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, it gives all involved a sense of hope that the future will be a much better place for all.”

      • “ …after this amazing experience I decided to join the Habitat for Humanity organization on campus next semester so that I could volunteer to help on a regular basis.”

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Semester Plan Department

  • Wk1 (joint) Orientation - Course expectations, team set-up, team leaders, Project Management Intro, Teaming and roles of each team member/leader, Introduction to problem domains (both), Reading Assignment - Project management and proposal process

  • Wk2 (joint) Project Management & Proposal Process, Reading Assignment - Problem domains

  • Wk3 (separate) Detailed Discussions with Problem Domains (field trips), Assignment - Written report based upon field trips, Project Charter Due

  • Wk4 /5 (separate) Brain storming among individual group, Project Specification Document due

  • Wk6 (separate) Fine tune project for the semester / review with client, Project notebook review, web page review

  • Wk7 (joint) Effective presentations; structure for presentation

  • Wk8 (separate) Project notebook review, web page review

  • Wk9 (separate) Project Conceptual Design Report due

  • Wk12 and 13 (joint) Practice for final oral presentation , Presentation to client, Project notebook review, web page review, draft, detailed design report due

  • Wk14 (separate) Agree on roadmap for next semester; review draft of final report, All supplemental materials due

  • Wk15 Final corrected report due

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Course Evaluation Department

  • Team Evaluation Form (Felder, R.M. and Brent, R. )

  • Student Learning Evaluation

  • Reflection piece

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Student Feedback Department

  • “Once this project (Habitat) found its direction, it became much more educational in terms of teamwork and project management.”

  • “I thoroughly enjoyed the purpose of this class and how it gave us the ability to work freely. I believe it enhanced my team building skills as well as provide a first hand experience on how to develop a project.”

  • “This was a refreshing course that allowed me to realize what exactly goes into a project in the community. I enjoyed a lot and will do it next semester.”

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Spring 2009 Department

  • We moved to more projects (4) with smaller teams (4-5 people)

  • Continued working with habitat for humanity and added three new projects

  • Having more concise problems seemed to lead to better outcomes

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Spring 2009 Department

Course Structure

  • 1 credit hour

  • 20 students

  • 4 projects

  • Weekly lectures

  • Advisors for each project

  • Milestones for project completion

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Projects Department

  • Greener Parking Garages

  • Dining Services Food Waste Management – Food Pulper

  • Habitat for Humanity Green Home

  • Children’s Museum Project

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Student Feedback Department

  • …I realized how much work and dedication was put on the Children’s project …I feel the little things we did not only helped us to learn many skills that will help us in the future but also matter to little kids …

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Cont Department.

  • I am delighted to have participated in a class that puts emphasis on helping the community. My college career has almost exclusively put a priority on how things will work when one gets into the workforce …The human aspect and care for our neighbors and environment is something has been left out at times, but certainly not in the EPICS course.

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Cont. Department

  • The class as a whole would have benefitted from some sense of community within the class itself… Most of the presentations that were given to the class were relevant; I liked the fact that the presenters were both students and faculty with experience… The class was a good experience, but further organization would definitely be beneficial.

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Challenges Ahead Department

  • In the process of becoming an EPICS campus

  • Expanding the program

    • More faculty involvement

      • Faculty incentives

      • Time release

    • Finding resources, staff, funding