NSF Funds WSU Prof's E-Learning Project For Sustainable Manufacturing

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Kyoung-Yun Kim, Ph.D., assistant professor in Wayne State University’s Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in the College of Engineering, has received a $250,000 Cyberinfrastructure Training, Education, Advancement and Mentoring grant from the National Science Foundation. Kim will develop a collaborative e-learning platform to promote a more diverse, cyberinfrastructure-savvy engineering workforce.

The Sustainable Product Development Collaboratory will teach sustainability principles of product architectural design, manufacturing, assembly and supply chain decisions across a spectrum of active learners, including high school students, university students and practitioners.

“To date, there has been a significant level of grassroots activities for sustainable design and manufacturing,” said Kim. “However, engineering programs and manufacturing companies continue to struggle with methods to educate engineers in holistic product and process development with a view of life cycle costs and environmental effects.”

Existing educational methods do not capture the interdependencies between product design architecture and life cycle process requirements of product development. The primary goal of this project is to overcome these limitations by incorporating scalable tools as well as flexible, representative models and algorithms in a user-friendly, license-free Web-based tool.

Secondary and post-secondary educational materials will complement the collaboratory’s online tool by providing users with a hands-on approach to learning. The project will also consist of evaluation tools to calculate the educational impacts of the collaboratory in educating students about cyberinfrastructure.

Kim seeks to engage high school and underrepresented college students to foster diversity in the science and engineering workforce. The use of tangible examples, like three-ring binders and their effects on the environment and supply chain costs, are expected to advance high school students’ multi-step problem-solving skills.

“This project will help to develop, at a modest cost, new pedagogy for academic institutions to integrate sustainability into engineering curricula, and prepare a skilled workforce that meets the needs of modern industry for sustainable product development,” Kim said.

Other researchers involved in the project are Leslie Monplaisir, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering in WSU’s College of Engineering; Ratna Chinnam, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering in WSU’s College of Engineering; Alper Murat, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at WSU’s College of Engineering; Karl Haapala, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at Oregon State University; and Gul Kremer, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering at Pennsylvania State University.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.

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