Award to Aid Engineering's Ongoing Transition to Virtual Learning
Dr. Reza Kamali, associate professor of electrical engineering, and Dr. Ricardo D. Fierro, associate dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, received a $107,432 supplemental award for the Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM grant “ ‘¡Si Se Puede!’ to Close the Equity Gap in Engineering Degree Completion.”
CSUSM launched its software engineering program in fall 2018 and electrical engineering (EE) in fall 2019 thanks to a $6 million, HSI STEM grant from the U.S. Department of Education, a $1.5 million gift from Carlsbad-based communications company Viasat and its employees, a $100,000 gift from San Marcos-based Hunter Industries and a $100,000 gift from Nordson.
The supplemental award will help with the ongoing transition to virtual learning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposal for the supplemental award notes the importance of adapting EE laboratories “to the COVID-19 environment and engage students with experiential laboratory practices at their home without interruption so that they can make progress toward their degree and build their early identity as an engineer (in the lower-division EE courses), which in turn feeds their motivation to persist in the major.”
Ways in which the funds will be used include:
- Training Systems for AC and DC Electric Power Machines and Systems. This system is required to teach EE 310 Electrical Power Systems. Power is one of the most challenging laboratories to be offered online, and this laboratory system comes with a simulation tool to model the exact electric machine in use.
- Control System Laboratory, for EE 420 and EE 280. These laboratory tools can be used remotely, and students will work with a real control system.
- CSUSM needs four additional software packages to offer laboratory and course works using simulation in several courses: for EE 210, EE 330, EE 430, EE 110, EE 280, and EE 435.
The project’s overarching goal, according to the proposal, is to make an effective and immediate transition of the EE program into an online/hybrid program, offering laboratory practices using online, remote and take-home kits. The new laboratory activities are aiming to improve retention and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the students’ skill, innovation and interest.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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