"Steel is not just steel!"

Teaching tips from Dr. John Nychka, University of Alberta

This session has now passed: archived information follows

On Wednesday, October 23, Dr. John Nychka (University of Alberta) will join members of Granta's education team as he shares his insights into how to make metallurgy courses more appealing. Through the creation of more effective visual teaching and learning tools (which are portable to any institution teaching materials/metallurgy), he has been able to increase student interest in the amazing behavior of steel as it relates to properties, processing, and structure, and to show that steel is not just steel. He will share how engaging students through visualization means more effective learning is possible and increases awareness and excitement about designing with steel.

Read the full abstract and presenter biography 

This presentation is based on that given at the 4th North American Materials Education Symposium, earlier this year, where professors from across North America gathered at Philadelphia University to focus on undergraduate materials education across science, engineering, and design.

Join the webinar to:

  • See examples of project ideas, and hear about what proved most successful in the classroom
  • Hear an overview of how CES EduPack can be used to support the teaching of metallurgy, as well as other aspects of materials education
  • Learn how CES EduPack can be used to help align teaching style with student learning styles

Presenter's abstract: 'Steel is not just steel!'

There are an estimated 32 learning styles, yet engineering students tend to be visual learners. Engineering students require better alignment of teaching styles with their learning styles. When teaching is more in sync with learning, students tend to become more engaged. Through the creation of more effective visual teaching and learning tools (those which are portable to any institution teaching materials/metallurgy) we hope to generate more interest in the amazing behavior of steel as it relates to properties, processing, and structure, and to show that steel is not just steel. Moreover, by engaging students through visualization more effective learning is possible and increases awareness and excitement about designing with steel.

Innovations have been centralized about creating visualizations of structure-property-processing relationships in carbon steel. In particular, accessible examples and case studies with extensive data regarding materials characterization and performance for common steels has been designed. As examples: use potatoes immersed in iodine to mimic carburization and case hardening; place structural steel in a fire flashover simulator and do comparative metallography and testing to create case studies for civil engineers, posing the question, "can the steel be used if it is in a fire?"; educational posters detailing comparisons between microstructure, hardness, and heat treatments for medium carbon steels with a variety of etchants; and Silly Putty analogues for pearlite.

Beta testing of the teaching materials has and will continue to be assessed using summative and formative techniques: targeted homework problems and exam questions, and anonymous student polls. Summative assessments have determined memory recall of details concerning the visual teaching tools through labelling of microconstituents, and declaration of facts. Higher order thinking skills have been assessed through open-ended design questions.

This work is funded by AISI and AIST Foundation through a FeMET Curriculum Grant. In its past two years the project has trained 7 undergraduate student researchers.

About the presenter

John Nychka received his formal training in Metallurgical Engineering (B.Sc. 1997, University of Alberta), materials science & engineering (M.Eng. 1999, McMaster University), and materials (Ph.D. 2004, University of California Santa Barbara). His research interests are materials characterization, effects of stress and strain on material behavior, resorbable bio-implants, entomological materials models, high temperature materials, bulk metallic glass.

Nychka's teaching focus is in introductory materials engineering courses, and his long term goal is to develop visual teaching techniques through demonstrations that can be adopted by other faculty members on an international scale. His teaching style is heavily reliant upon garnering student reflection, and reinforcing concepts through real world examples and student feedback and interaction. John received an award for the quality of his teaching in 2012: Engineers Canada Awards 2012 - Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education - John Nychka, PhD, P.Eng.

About CES EduPack

CES EduPack is the world-leading teaching resource for materials in engineering, science, processing, and design. It provides a comprehensive database of materials and process information, powerful materials software tools, and a range of supporting textbooks, lectures, projects, and exercises. With specialist editions for specific disciplines, and three levels of the database and software to suit varying needs in all years of undergraduate study and in postgraduate teaching, CES EduPack is a curriculum-wide resource. Join this short webseminar to see it in action and put your questions to both our guest speaker and Granta's education team.

Read professors' reviews, examples, and see the customer list 

Who should join the web seminar?

Professors, Lecturers, and Program Directors of university and college courses in areas including: metallurgy, materials science and materials engineering, mechanical engineering, design, sustainability, civil engineering; eco engineering; architecture; manufacturing; production engineering

Past CES EduPack users—if you have not tried the software recently, now is a great time to take another look! See the major developments to the software and associated data in recent years.

This web seminar is not appropriate for undergraduate students.