Ocean science and engineering are exciting and active fields industry as well as academia. “Revolutionizing” marine science and technology requires that future generations have access to strong academic programs in ocean science and engineering. Undergraduates pursing degree programs in ocean engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are introduced to a wide range of engineering topics that are highly relevant in modern ocean research, exploration and utilization. A new degree program in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering, introduced recently, strives to educate students in the engineering fundamentals required for developing new technologies to operate in the complex ocean environment. Presented here is a framework for introducing the topic of Ocean Science and Engineering (OSE) to first year students to enable three major events: (1) to draw more undergraduate students into the field of Ocean Engineering and to the new Bachelors of Science degree program in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering at MIT, (2) to create a context in which students relate material that they learn in their core program subjects back to the ocean, and thus increase their retention of this knowledge, and (3) to generate life-long interest in ocean science and engineering.
This paper discusses several innovative hands-on teaching modules that were developed for a one-term subject geared towards first and second year college students. This project-based approach aims to develop fundamental ocean instruments used in ocean exploration, while addressing the engineering challenges of working such a demanding environment. This subject material can also serve as an introduction to engineering in general.
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