Implementation of interdisciplinary group learning and peer assessment in a nanotechnology engineering course

Mark C. Hersam, Melissa Luna, Gregory Light

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)


Nanotechnology is an inherently interdisciplinary field that has generated significant scientific and engineering interest in recent years. In an effort to convey the excitement and opportunities surrounding this discipline to senior undergraduate students and junior graduate students, a nanotechnology engineering course has been developed in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University over the past two years. This paper examines the unique challenges facing educators in this dynamic, emerging field and describes an approach for the design of a nanotechnology engineering course employing the non-traditional pedagogical practices of collaborative group learning, interdisciplinary learning, problem-based learning, and peer assessment. Utilizing the same nanotechnology course given the year before as a historical control, analysis of the difference between measures of student performance and student experience over the two years indicates that these practices are successful and provide an educationally informed template for other newly developed engineering courses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)

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