Simulations can provide a critical element of learning experiences. Simulations are also
becoming a critical part of computational science, which is being described as the thirdleg
in this century's methodologies of science (Sabelli, et. al, 2005). Opportunities exist
to use the same simulation as both a tool for experts and a learning environment of
novices. What needs to be done to accomplish this duality of a simulation resource?
Our work will test the conjecture that the nanoHUB resource supports learners' goals and
expectations for learning in a course because the nanoHUB provides an excellent
platform for meeting instructor's goals of conceptual understanding and metacognitive
skills for exploring new concepts. We are conducting multiple studies of how these
resources can be used as a learning resource for students from undergraduate to graduate
levels and scientists interested in learning more about nanotechnology. Our initial efforts
concentrate on identifying professors' instructional goals and approaches and students'
perceptions of using the nanoHUB simulation tools. In particular, we are trying to
answer the following questions:
- How do instructors integrate nanoHUB resources into their instructional practice?
- What are students' perceptions of using nanHUB simulation tools?
In this study, we describe two instructors' approach to incorporating the simulation tools
in their courses and students' response to this learning experience.