By Allison McLellan
This summer, the Material Science and Engineering Department received a fresh design with the installation of six Optiplex 980 1TB HD Workstations.
These workstations include two rows of computers with bright green chairs to match the MSE logo, not only allowing students to work side-by-side, but also face-to-face. The computers include modeling software of Computer-aided design (CAD), Finite element analysis (FEA), and Image analysis. In order to easily demonstrate tutorials, there is an additional wall-mounted monitor that can be connected to a professor’s computer for students to follow along with.
The lab will be primarily utilized for the MSE 4003 Senior Characterization Lab in which students will benefit from being able to collaborate on complex projects. As students file in to begin the fall semester, the enhanced devices additionally provide an alternative working environment to crowded computer labs.
Steelcase is one company that provides educational tools to UConn. Andrew Kim, a member of the Steelcase Education team, has said, “As students start to have more control over what they use to help them learn, you need to have spaces that support more creative or generative activities. This means…new kinds of learning spaces that support varying individual activities and rates of learning. Providing a palette of place, posture and presence—i.e., virtual as well as face-to-face interactions—is as important in educational spaces as it is in workplaces…”
UConn MSE is a leader in materials modeling and this is another effort to incorporate concepts in materials theory into the undergraduate curriculum. Professor Pamir Alpay, Department Head of the Material Science and Engineering Department, says, “We are very excited that our undergraduate students now have access to advanced materials modeling software and databases.”
The new lab layout has been well received by students from the summer intercession and will continue to be put to great use in the upcoming semesters.