CES EduPack is now used as a resource kit to support a wide variety of approaches to the teaching of materials. This page provides background information on some of these approaches.
Design-led v Science-led
Perhaps the most fundamental choice in teaching materials is whether to adopt a science-led or a design-led approach. The science-led approach is the more 'traditional' and often remains appropriate, particularly in more science-oriented courses. It begins with fundamental scientific principles at the micro- or even atomic-level, builds up to show how those principles determine materials properties, and then applies that knowledge in engineering design. The design-led approach, pioneered by Ashby and others, reverses the process. It aims to first engage students by beginning with a practical application in design, and is thus particularly suited to manufacturing- or design-oriented courses. Students explore why specific materials are most suited to the needs of the design, leading them to a consideration of the underlying science. The CES EduPack resources were developed by Professor Ashby and colleagues to support the design-led approach. However, since the two approaches are mirror-image, CES EduPack can be applied equally well in support of either!
CES EduPack and the design-led approach—The student begins with a design challenge. CES EduPack software allows them to identify the materials families that best meet its requirements. They can then explore why different materials perform differently, 'drilling down' into the EduPack information resources to find out more on the underlying science. EduPack is particularly well-integrated with Professor Ashby's textbooks, which adopt the design-led approach. More on the design-led approach »
CES EduPack and the science-led approach—Using the CES EduPack software, students can develop their understanding of what the science means in terms of material peformance. For example, when discussing bonding, a teacher could use a plot of a materials properties (e.g., Young's Modulus v Density) to show how materials with different bond types occupy different areas of the property space. Students exploring this chart in EduPack could click through to Science Notes that reinforce the theory and include references to standard texts (e.g., Callister, Askeland, Budinski, Shackelford). The student could then go on to use the EduPack software to select materials for a design based on these properties—developing a perspective on how the fundamental science translates to real engineering applications.
Different teaching and learning methods
Different courses may adopt or combine different teaching and learning methods. Here is how CES EduPack can support some common methods.
Classroom teaching—CES EduPack includes ready-made PowerPoint slidesets that can be used, in whole or in part, to create lecture materials. Alternatively, EduPack's highly visual materials selection charts and materials datasheets are ideal for enriching your own lecture material. Customized charts can be created to illustrate the particular point that you are teaching. CES EduPack software is also used as the basis for short, hands-on student exercises during classroom sessions, or as 'homework'. The EduPack teaching resources provide such exercises.
Project-based learning—CES EduPack is ideal as a support for student projects, both as a comprehensive information resource and through the use of its materials selection, Eco Audit, and other software to solve materials-related problems. These projects could be anything from short exercises within an introductory course (examples are provided in the CES EduPack teaching resources) to extensive final-year or even masters-level research projects (using the in-depth data in the EduPack Level 3 database).
Problem-based learning—as students use CES EduPack to solve design- or materials-related problems, they can easily 'drill down' into information that explains the engineering and scientific principles behind the properties and materials that they are investigating. This capability is well-suited to problem-based approaches where students are encouraged to broaden their subject knowledge by exploring issues and concepts that arise as they tackle a specific problem.
Self-teaching—enrollment and campus-wide licences of CES EduPack allow every student on the participating course to install CES EduPack on their own laptop or PC. This means that CES EduPack can be a powerful aid to distance-learning and other courses that require students to do a substantial portion of their learning remotely or in their own time.
Links across the curriculum
Finally, many universities and colleges are seeking to improve the integration of the courses that they offer—allowing students flexibility and choice in the precise course modules that they select, while maintaining a consistent approach and reinforcing key learning points across the curriculum. CES EduPack can be a valuable tool in this process. Since it is used to support teaching in areas including Mechanical Engineering, Materials, Manufacturing, Plastics, Aerospace, Architecture, and Bio Engineering (see full range of editions), CES EduPack can help to link courses in these different areas through the use of a common resource. A campus-wide licence is a particularly useful mechanism for achieving such linkages.
CES EduPack customers include departments that are developing teaching programs that make such common themes explicit—sometimes, they use the term spine (e.g., 'design-spine' or 'materials spine') to describe a central core that runs through all of their courses. EduPack is a useful resource for such programs.