The Role of Digital Libraries in Teaching Materials Science and Engineering

The Role of Digital Libraries in Teaching Materials Science and Engineering

Arlindo Silva (University of Lisbon, Portugal) and Virginia Infante (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8183-5.ch010
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Nowadays, the number of commercially available materials is growing steadily. Technical information on materials resides in digital libraries that complement classical Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) textbooks. Information on materials in the form of databases of material properties can elaborate on the science and engineering fundamentals explained in textbooks with real data about current materials. Hence digital libraries can become a learning tool to support teaching of science and engineering fundamentals. This chapter described two courses offered for the Mechanical Engineering degree at Instituto Superior Tecnico, Portugal, namely Materials Science and Materials in Engineering. The Materials Science course uses the traditional textbooks and a bottom-up approach. In the Materials in Engineering course, the CES EduPack database was introduced to support a design-led approach. This chapter showed that the teaching of Materials Science with databases should be encouraged and described a successful experience with teaching Materials in Engineering using digital libraries.
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Educational Applications of Digital Libraries

Faculty should be concerned with methods to implement digital libraries in higher education. The institutions of higher education should emphasize more on training and support for faculty use of information and instructional technologies (Borgman et al., 2000). Using digital libraries in materials education can improve the means and opportunity for learning in the classroom. A positive correlation between integrating electronic information sources in the classroom and increased scholastic success has been verified in a few outcome-based studies (Marcum, 1997; Saracevic & Dalbello, 2001). Also the students can learn and explore topics in a less restricted way compared to learning using traditional textbooks.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Materials Teaching: A spectrum of educational materials that teachers use in the classroom to support specific learning objectives, as set out in lesson plans.

Design-Lead Approach: A type of information processing method based in the typical design process to accommodate the study of materials and it goes through several generic phases.

Materials Database: A computer application that enables materials experts and product development teams to find, explore, and apply materials property data.

Material Properties: An intensive, often quantitative, property of a solid or quasi-solid.

Science-Lead Approach: A type of information processing method based on input data coming from the environment to which the system belongs to form a perception, making the original systems sub-systems of the emergent system.

Materials Science or Materials Engineering: The study of the characteristics and uses of the various materials that are employed in science and technology.

Digital Libraries: A focused collection of digital objects that can include text, visual material, audio material, video material, stored as electronic media formats (as opposed to print, micro form, or other media), along with means for organizing, storing, and retrieving the files and media contained in the library collection.

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