Work-in-Progress: A Multidisciplinary Hands-on Course to Guide Engineering Students Toward Becoming Blended Digital Professionals

Jaskirat Sodhi, Ashish D. Borgaonkar, Teresa L. Keeler

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The boundaries between different engineering majors are thinning and there is a strong need for all engineering students to work toward becoming blended digital professionals in order to succeed as future engineers. This work-in-progress paper will introduce readers to an interdisciplinary, upper-level course that has been recently developed at the New Jersey Institute of Technology located in Newark, NJ, USA. This course familiarizes students with microcontrollers, an integral part of many modern, technological devices, and their exciting applications in the fields of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics. Using a project-based, hands-on approach, microcontrollers are included as a component part of a broader design activity to introduce students to coding, logic, and automation in the wider context of engineering design. Students from different majors collaborate to work on multiple mini-projects to integrate a programmable system into a working prototype, such as a step counter, automatic plant watering system, and a home security alarm system. Overall, this course provides a foundational understanding of software design and coding, and microcontroller interfacing with sensors, actuators, motors, etc. Students also develop 3D modeling and prototyping skills and are encouraged to use the makerspace. The course further exposes students to the interesting field of data science, as students gather real-life data from sensors and then clean, analyze and create visualizations from the data set using common Python-based libraries. Preliminary feedback from students has been very positive. Students have expressed satisfaction in being industry-ready, especially as they were introduced to Python programming and data science while maintaining an engineering, hands-on context. This paper will discuss why this course was developed, its various components, and its preliminary outcomes. The goal is to enable readers to offer a similar course at their universities or integrate some of these modules into an already existing course that they are teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


  • college teaching
  • data science
  • educational assessment
  • engineering design
  • microcontrollers
  • pedagogies
  • project-based learning
  • software design


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