Engineering faculty co-lead three of six new University Courses

Three new courses co-taught by engineering faculty are among the second set of six University Courses to be offered at Vanderbilt University.

University Courses promote trans-institutional teaching and learning and meet degree requirements across undergraduate majors and many professional and graduate programs. All the courses tackle important cross-disciplinary topics that advance the educational mission of the university.

The three new 2017-18 University Courses are:

Design Thinking, Design Doing, taught by David Owens of the Owen Graduate School of Management and School of Engineering and Rogers Hall of Peabody College of education and human development, will serve as an introduction to the theories and practices of design. The “design thinking” elements of the course will offer a critical understanding of methods for researching interactions between humans and the social and built environment, while the “design doing” elements will provide instruction in how to develop purposeful interventions that result in more meaningful and effective interactions. Design will be practiced using a human-centered process with an emphasis on participation in team-based design projects in the areas of education, business and health. The course will be one of the components in DIVE (Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience), which will serve as Vanderbilt’s new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), part of the university’s reaccreditation process.

Virtual Reality for Interdisciplinary Applications, taught by Robert Bodenheimer of the School of Engineering and Ole Molvig of the Department of History in Arts and Science and the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning, will serve as an interdisciplinary, project-based introduction to Virtual Reality (VR), with computer science students joining with students from across the university for an overview of the VR field and substantive training in the appropriate tools. Faculty mentors drawn from diverse disciplines will guide student teams in creating real-world, consequential immersive VR simulations relevant to, and innovative in, their respective fields.

Data Science Methods for Smart City Applications, taught by Gautam Biswas and Abhishek Dubey of the School of Engineering, Claire Smrekar of Peabody College, and Mark Ellingham of the Department of Mathematics in Arts and Science, will apply concepts and methodologies from systems engineering, data sciences and machine learning, modeling and simulation, optimization, and social sciences research to address pressing social policy issues affecting U.S. cities and major metropolitan areas. The course will provide immersive field research experiences and cross-disciplinary learning activities for undergraduate and graduate students in a project team format.

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