An Online Course Management Tool To Develop And Deliver The Microelectronics Laboratory Curriculum


The Microelectronics Laboratory Curriculum development, for both associate and bachelor degrees, is a project between Arizona State University East (ASU East), three community colleges in the Maricopa Community College District, and Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center (MATEC) and is funded by the National Science Foundation. This paper describes a model curriculum development strategy to create userfriendly material for students and the instructor. The development team consists of faculty from community colleges, ASU East and industry subject matter experts (SMEs). To maximize the efficiency of the development team an Online Authoring Tool is developed to generate the curriculum materials. This modular curriculum is competency based and industry validated with the goal of producing work-ready graduates. The online tool structure allows all potential authors to upload their material into the system. Based on their development role, it provides access to all (authors, editor and publisher) to review and revise the material. The tool also has the capability of automatically saving each version of the material for logging the changes. When the author uploads the final version of the material the editor makes the final changes and informs the publisher to publish the material to the site. The instructor material covers the information to prepare for the laboratory. The student material covers the details of each laboratory exercise with several learning objectives. Microelectronics Teaching Factory: Background, Rationale, and Benefits Arizona continues to rank as one of the leading states in the number of workers employed in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. To meet these demands, semiconductor companies (both nationally and locally) have launched an aggressive campaign to attract students into programs that prepare them for the future workforce. As a result, local semiconductor companies have sought to collaborate with neighboring higher education institutions to implement this workforce initiative. The College of Technology and Applied Sciences (CTAS) at ASU East is leading the way by developing a state-of-the-art teaching factory in response to this local and national high technology workforce need. A one-of-a-kind Microelectronics Teaching Factory (MTF) has been developed in partnership with Intel, Motorola and other local partners in the semiconductor industry. P ge 995.2 Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education This facility provides a unique learning environment for the students from ASU and community colleges statewide who represent the future semiconductor workforce [1]. By collaborating via the Teaching Factory, the partners in this project can begin to transform SMT education in Arizona into a truly integrated regional enterprise providing a seamless curriculum, one that takes advantage of the unique resources of each partnering institution [2]. Curr iculum Development Goals The MTF at ASU East is a key element in the joint effort to develop a comprehensive and robust laboratory curriculum for both the community colleges and university. The curriculum being developed uses a hybrid model. This model consists of materials and resources e-delivered via the web and follows with a practical application requirement at the MTF. This model provides the optimum flexibility for the working student’s schedule. Six laboratory modules and their corresponding laboratory workbooks (LabEx) are being developed during the duration of the multi-year project funded by NSF. Four modules relating to the cleanroom operations, environmental health and safety and selected processes have been developed to date. The laboratory modules are currently being beta tested and evaluated in community college and ASUE courses during the 2003-2004 academic year. Each module focuses on a selected process area within the Teaching Factory and corresponds to community college or ASU East courses. The electronic workbooks contain lab preparation materials, learner oriented lab manuals, laboratory exercises, and assessment instruments for both degree levels [3]. Electronic versions of the workbooks are available to the community college and university faculty and students via the web as downloadable files housed on the ASUE web site. Each development team produces the LabEx manuals utilizing an on-line authoring system located on the ASUE Microelectronics Teaching Factory web site. Curr iculum Development Web Application This section discusses the web application created to support the distributed curriculum development. The application provides access to several types of constituents: students, curriculum developers, and the general public. Students access the site to download published versions of curriculum and laboratory exercises. Curriculum developers use the site to upload, download, and review curriculum. Finally, the web site provides information and contact information for the general public regarding the Teaching Factory and the NFS-sponsored curriculum development effort. The site is also partitioned into a public side and a password protected side. The public side contains the general information, contact information, and all published curriculum which is accessible by students and the general public. There are several reasons behind P ge 995.3 Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education this decision. First, the NSF has funded the content creation so there are no intellectual property issues regarding its protection. Second and perhaps most important, managing and supporting student accounts for courses provided at a variety of different educational institutions would be problematic. Therefore, the site supports protected logins only for curriculum developers and one or more administrators. Figure 1 below shows a site map and the public and protected portions of the web site. Figure 1: Application Site Map Curriculum developers are partitioned into several roles with associated capabilities as shown in the figure above. The interaction between these roles to create the curriculum development workflow is discussed in the next section. Curr iculum Development Workflow Curriculum uploaded into the site is associated with a topic area. Topic areas typically map directly to courses but can be any area of interest for which content is being created. For example, the current web site contains content for teaching users how to use the web site, advice for prospective students, and documents for the MTF Industrial Advisory Board. Authors can create and load content associated with these topic areas just as they develop content for courses.