Starostina featured for teaching lab courses under COVID-19 restrictions
Professor Nataliya Starostina was featured in a blog by Oxford Instruments under the section titled “Innovate- How do you teach a lab course under COVID-19 restrictions?” Last spring, she came up with a new way to teach MECH 333B..
Students signed up for MECH 333B as per catalog. However, since this course is a hands on learning experience that focuses on data acquisition (course description is provided below), it’s impossible to teach as announced due to the COVID restrictions.
Starostina had to readjust the course to focus on data analysis instead. This is only possible if software is available for download or online so students can perform data analysis in the convenience of their home. Oxford Instruments was very accommodating to her request to provide a limited time edition for EDS analysis that was free of charge for every student. As a result, she has a new course, MECH 333C. While not in the course catalog, a general description of the class is provided down below. 333C is a great addition to the 333 series as it makes it very complete and well rounded.
MECH 333B consisted of research-oriented assignments involving heavy use of scientific instrumentation at CNS (center of nanostructures) and is equivalent to culminating experience. The projects are samples/materials based and the assignments may involve hands-on sample preparation, instrumentation calibration verification on the reference samples, imaging and measurements followed by some data analysis. Research may include hands-on examination of surface morphology/fracture/roughness, elemental composition and mechanical properties. Students are expected to correlate obtained data of structural and compositional changes on micro /nano scale to changes in materials properties. The results of their assignments are expected to be written up in a scientific paper format and presented thereafter. Off-campus tours may be organized if arrangements are possible.
Mech 333C consisted of research-oriented assignments involving heavy use of various image analysis software packages and is equivalent to culminating experience. The projects are samples/materials based and the assignments mainly focused on extracting and analyzing data acquired with SEM/BSE/EDX and AFM. For example, surface or particles morphology, surface roughness, elemental composition, and mechanical properties. Students will have an opportunity to apply advanced concepts of physics and mathematics developing technical content for a final paper. Understanding the impacts of engineering solutions in a global and societal context is expected to be presented as well, that is how obtained technical results fit with a bigger research picture. Image analysis software packages can be available on-line or installed on a personal device.