Jones Seminar: Active Learning, Teamwork & Ethics in the Modern Undergraduate Engineering Classroom

Matthew Cooper, Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University

Friday, January 30, 2015, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium, Cummings Hall

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series.

Employers place a high value on engineers’ conceptual understanding as well as their ability to complete complicated tasks as part of a team. However, these qualities are not well served by traditional engineering coursework, which usually focuses on students solving mathematical equations as a single person. This pedagogical approach produces graduates who can construct and solve a series of equations to find an answer, but they sometimes do not understand “why” or even “what they just did.” Communication, teamwork skills and an appreciation of ethics are similarly diminished by this traditional approach, leaving many engineering graduates with real-world skills below that expected by their anticipated positions in the workplace.

This talk will focus on a number of methods – including active learning, conceptual testing, plagiarism detection, and project-based learning – shown by pedagogical research to enhance active student involvement in class while helping students build skills in teamwork, ethics, and communication. Developing these abilities in the university classroom helps young engineers immediately become productive members of the workforce upon graduation.

About the Speaker

Dr. Matthew Cooper is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University where he teaches Material and Energy Balances, Unit Operations, Transport Phenomena and Mathematical / Computational Methods. He is the recipient of the 2014 NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award, 2014 ASEE Southeastern Section Outstanding New Teacher Award, and was selected to attend the National Academy of Engineering’s 2014 Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium. Dr. Cooper’s research interests include effective teaching, conceptual and inductive learning, integrating writing and speaking into the curriculum and professional ethics.

For more information, contact Haley Tucker at