This project is adapting and implementing a multidisciplinary Tribology course for undergraduate engineering students. Tribology is the field which attempts to understand and mitigate the damaging effects of friction and wear. The two objectives of the course are: 1) to educate a diverse population of students in tribological mechanisms and 2) aid in the development of students into critical thinking, problem-solving professionals through active, higher order learning. The course involves adapting and creating a lecture and laboratory experience that will require design, teamwork, and innovative thinking by students. The project is modeled after a program at the University of Florida.
The course is exposing undergraduate students to a technologically important field, which is expanding rapidly as engineering systems become more complex and energy resources scarcer. The course reflects contemporary issues and the development is based on established methodology in learning theory. The course experience is emphasizing solving real-world technical challenges. Students who otherwise would know little about tribology are developing a core competency. Young engineers will enter industry or graduate school with greater aptitude to tackle engineering challenges. This aptitude will be applied in numerous industries from biomedical implants to MEMS devices to automobiles- and will remain a fundamental skill to be utilized in our ever-increasing technical society. In addition, developing an interdisciplinary course will promote collaboration between departments and lead to further cross-disciplinary course development.