Engineering and business school courses both aim to teach students to solve problems, but the approaches they use to reach that objective are traditionally perceived as fundamentally different. Engineering courses provide the students with dense technical knowledge that helps them give a definitive answer to a problem, while business school classes focus more on collaborative learning by confronting the students with real-world cases and by encouraging teamwork in order to find viable solutions to a question, the question not necessarily having a single black and white answer. We combined both of these approaches in a single course by designing the semester-long “Introduction to Nanobiotechnology and Nanobioscience” course. This engineering course was directed towards senior undergraduate and first year graduate students. It incorporated key elements of business schools’ case study approach to learning, without altering the class time or the elements drawn from the traditional engineering education style. The format and different active elements of this hybrid course was presented at the ASEE last year as a work-in-progress project.
Building on that prior work, our objective here is to prove the effectiveness of the hybrid format introduced in the course. To that end, two feedback tools were implemented: (1) a pre-course survey was used to gauge the students’ self-reported knowledge on key element of the course. The same survey questions were added to the end of semester survey, thus enabling us to quantify the progress that was made. (2) Students’ participation was recorded both qualitatively and quantitatively during all class sessions, thus providing us with information about the effect of the business-school inspired elements on students’ participation, and the repercussions those activities had on the traditional lecture sessions.
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.