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Awarded to: Jane Blackford

Institution: University of Edinburgh

Funded in: 2003

Project description: The project will develop innovative teaching methods and set up an entirely new teaching laboratory/studio for undergraduate work on engineering materials to support undergraduate courses and projects in all years.

Background: Materials science and engineering is a critical element of most engineering courses and much engineering innovation is driven by advances in materials. Scotland has no recognized centre of materials education to compete with the position that UoE is well placed to establish.

The development of materials science and engineering is a key part of the medium-term strategy of the College. Since the opening of the Centre for Materials Science and Engineering in 2000 the college has been very successful in establishing a research base and in attracting external funds to support this. However, much less progress has been made in developing undergraduate teaching of materials. The college has ambitious plans to develop new teaching activities, but the situation in relation to laboratory provision and equipment is dire, because there has been no specialist materials teaching in Edinburgh until 1999. There are, however, now four materials specialists in the School of Engineering and Electronics who are very well placed to make a strong effort in teaching innovation.

Objectives: Development of innovative teaching methods for teaching materials to undergraduate engineering students. The methods will be chosen to promote a deep approach to learning and are likely to involve an investigative approach, open ended questions and case studies.The materials library – with its collection of materials samples and interesting artefacts – will be used in course development.

A review of good practice in materials teaching to find methods that work and inspiration for new ideas.

The main aims for the new Engineering Materials Teaching Studio (EMTS) are to ensure that all engineering students:

  • have hands-on familiarity with conventional, advanced and novel engineering materials
  • understand the engineering properties of materials, how they are assessed and measured
  • have insight into the relation between structure and properties in engineering materials
  • are familiar with fabrication and processing methods for conventional and advanced materials
  • are skilled in the use of current methods of materials selection for engineering design (the "Ashby philosophy": the key link between materials and engineering design).

Deliverables: New assignments and case studies on materials teaching disseminated through the UKCME web site and other avenues.



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