Building the Argument for an Online Sustainable Manufacturing Design Education Platform

My team has started writing the problem statement for our research on the user interface of the S-Pass tool of CooL:SLiCE (Constructionism in Learning: Sustainable Life Cycle Engineering). Doing so requires framing an argument to support the entire CooL:SLiCE project as well as our specific task (designing a user interface and incorporating augmented reality for the S-Pass tool).

Writing the problem statement involves siting resources to demonstrate why sustainable design is significant in the first place, why we are attempting to educate college students in particular, why using an online platform is the best way to proceed, and then finally making a case for how addressing the user interface of the S-Pass tool and incorporating augmented reality (AR) might enhance said learning.

It seems strange that we are building an argument to justify the creation of something that we were assigned to and that started three years ago. And yet, here we are. After some feedback from our mentor today, I found two articles describing the atmosphere of sustainable design in education that should prove useful.

On the bright side, we mostly know what our goals are and how to achieve them through a study. We decided on most of the details while filling out our IRB last week. We have about a million survey questions written and an outline of the basic procedures, including how we anticipate recruiting and paying participants.

Our primary tasks are as follows:

Task 1) Create two additional versions of the S-Pass tool—one with augmented reality and one without, addressing the user interface needs of each. All together the versions will be:

1) Excel-based.
2) Web-based
3) Web-based with AR

Task 2) Investigate usability and changes learning performance between the existing version and each of the two new versions of the S-Pass tool

Our research will reveal how a learning tool can be effectively integrated with a cyberspace learning platform to better and more actively engage college students in learning sustainable design. Findings from this research will also provide a basis for engineering educators to enhance the effectiveness and usability of their learning tools.

Aside from our research project, we also have other homework. For Journal Club, we read articles each week to analyze and discuss as a group. Part of me wishes we could analyze and report on papers that are pertinent to our research since there’s so little time right now to actually research on our own. However, either way I’m learning what makes good article. From last week’s discussion: Beware the file drawer effect and p-hacking (a.k.a. data dredging), and be aware of Cronbach’s alpha.

Our 2-day Unity class commenced today. I present the result of two hours-worth of an online tutorial below (note: all art assets were provided):


On a completely different note, we had a BBQ and I learned what a melodica is (also known as a pianica, blow-organ, key harmonica, or melodyhorn). See weekend photos below!

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