Course Home Page
Welcome to MATSE 081: Materials in Today's World. Please take some time to review the Course Syllabus to become familiar with the instructor, assignments, and course schedule.
Paul R. Howell, Professor of Metallurgy
This Web site provides the primary instructional materials for the course. The Resources menu at left links to important supporting materials, while the Course Outline menu links to the course lessons. ANGEL, Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course, as well, as it provides the primary communications, calendaring, and submission tools for the course.
Watch Dr. Howell's introduction to MATSE 081
Watch a movie that provides an overview of this Web site as well as ANGEL
The course is available in two formats:
- Hybrid Format: Uses a face-to-face class format, along with supplemental Web material
- Web-Only Format: All instruction is delivered on the Web
We are surrounded by materials everywhere: at home, at work, on vacation, at the doctor's clinic, the grocery store, the health club, at school — it never ends. We are immersed in a world of materials, and they contribute significantly to the standard of living that we are familiar with.
This course takes students on a historical, scientific, and cultural exploration through the world of materials — from the cosmos to the atom, from Asimov to Pauling, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern day Pennsylvania, and from early man’s primitive stone tools to the complex materials that help us build, communicate, travel, work, and live in the 21st century.
The student course experience will be anchored by Earth, Air, Fire & Water: Elements of Materials Science, Dr. Howell's recently completed text written specifically for students being introduced to the world of materials science and engineering. Complementing the text will be a broad array of resources made available to students through this Website. Weekly quizzes and surveys will serve their traditional purposes — to help guide students through the material and assess the course objectives — but also to serve as a means for drawing attention to important ideas, misconceptions, and concepts within the weekly conversations and discussions. Students in MATSE 081 will also spend the semester creating an electronic portfolio in which they'll report regularly on their knowledge of and experiences with some particular material or class of materials that is of special interest to them. Through these combined experiences, MATSE 081 will meet the goals established for the Natural Sciences General Education knowledge domain (GN).
Learning on the Web
The use of the World Wide Web permits us to teach beyond the traditional borders of the classroom and to a wider and more diverse audience. The lack of scheduled meeting times translates into opportunity for those who are struggling with scheduling issues or who are working students, adult learners, or taking classes from a geographically remote location. Successful students will commit regular hours and energy to the course, manage and allocate their time wisely, attend to weekly assignments and deadlines, and participate fully in the course activities and experiences that are group or team-based. Success in these areas translates directly into success in the course and, more importantly, into a richer, more enjoyable online experience. The "engine" that helps us deliver a complete online learning experience to students is ANGEL, Penn State's own course management system, which is available to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although most course content is located on this Web page, as a part of the Open Educational Resource (OER) Initiative all “for credit” material is located on ANGEL.
MATSE 081 will continue to test the Dutton Institute's working hypothesis regarding general education courses: “Student engagement” — defined as a quantity and quality of time spent in learning tasks and activities — is directly and positively correlated with student satisfaction, participation, and performance, and consequently, is the single-best indicator of student success and satisfaction in academic course work.
As such, MATSE 081 was the first e-Education course to benefit from a newly formed collaboration between the Dutton Institute and the Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning, a partnership designed to improve the strategies and methodologies used to assess and evaluate courses and their effectiveness. MATSE 081 recently moved into an ANGEL quizzing environment, allowing for full, instant, and automated feedback available to the students. This was designed not only to greatly improve the processes of creating, delivering, and documenting online tests for instructors, but also to improve the student test-taking experience through greater convenience, richer quizzing features, and improved feedback, scoring, and reporting mechanisms.
Please Note: Courseware offered through OER is not eligible for credit toward any course, degree, or certificate offered by The Pennsylvania State University. This site does not provide access to the quizzing tools, assignment dropboxes, communication tools, etc. Although this Webspace will provide complete content for this course, access to graded materials will only be offered to students who are registered for the course and in the ANGEL course management system. If you are interested in enrolling in this course or learning more about Penn State's enrollment process, please see http://admissions.psu.edu.