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Needham, MA, United States

The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering is a private undergraduate engineering college located in Needham, Massachusetts , adjacent to Babson College. Olin College is noted in the engineering community for its youth, small size, project-based curriculum, and large endowment funded primarily by the F. W. Olin Foundation. The College currently awards the half-tuition Olin Scholarship to each admitted student.The college was accredited by the regional accreditation board NEASC on December 6, 2006. Olin's degree programs in Electrical/Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering received accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology on August 31, 2007. Wikipedia.

Adler J.M.,Franklin W. Olin College Of Engineering | Hershfield H.E.,New York University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: The relationships between positive and negative emotional experience and physical and psychological well-being have been well-documented. The present study examines the prospective positive relationship between concurrent positive and negative emotional experience and psychological well-being in the context of psychotherapy. Methods: 47 adults undergoing psychotherapy completed measures of psychological well-being and wrote private narratives that were coded by trained raters for emotional content. Results: The specific concurrent experience of happiness and sadness was associated with improvements in psychological well-being above and beyond the impact of the passage of time, personality traits, or the independent effects of happiness and sadness. Changes in mixed emotional experience preceded improvements in well-being. Conclusions: Experiencing happiness alongside sadness in psychotherapy may be a harbinger of improvement in psychological well-being. © 2012 Adler, Hershfield. Source

Bazant M.Z.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Storey B.D.,Franklin W. Olin College Of Engineering | Kornyshev A.A.,Imperial College London
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

We develop a simple Landau-Ginzburg-type continuum theory of solvent-free ionic liquids and use it to predict the structure of the electrical double layer. The model captures overscreening from short-range correlations, dominant at small voltages, and steric constraints of finite ion sizes, which prevail at large voltages. Increasing the voltage gradually suppresses overscreening in favor of the crowding of counterions in a condensed inner layer near the electrode. This prediction, the ion profiles, and the capacitance-voltage dependence are consistent with recent computer simulations and experiments on room-temperature ionic liquids, using a correlation length of order the ion size. © 2011 American Physical Society. Source

Govindasamy S.,Franklin W. Olin College Of Engineering | Bliss D.W.,Lincoln Laboratory | Staelin D.H.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
IEEE Transactions on Information Theory | Year: 2012

An asymptotic technique is presented for finding the spectral efficiency of multiantenna links in spatially distributed wireless networks where transmitters have channel-state-information (CSI) corresponding to their target receiver. Transmitters are assumed to transmit independent data streams on a limited number of channel modes which limits the rank of transmit covariance matrices. An approximation for the spectral efficiency in the interference-limited regime as a function of link-length, interferer density, number of antennas per receiver and transmitter, number of transmit streams, and path-loss exponent is derived. It is found that targeted-receiver CSI, which can be acquired with low overhead in duplex systems with reciprocity, can increase spectral efficiency several fold, particularly when link lengths are large, node density is high, or both. Additionally, the per-link spectral efficiency is found to be a function of the ratio of node density to the number of receiver antennas, and it can often be improved if nodes transmit using fewer streams. These results are validated for finite-sized systems by Monte-Carlo simulation and are asymptotic in the regime where the number of users and antennas per receiver approach infinity. © 1963-2012 IEEE. Source

Storey B.D.,Franklin W. Olin College Of Engineering | Bazant M.Z.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2012

The classical theory of electrokinetic phenomena is based on the mean-field approximation that the electric field acting on an individual ion is self-consistently determined by the local mean charge density. This paper considers situations, such as concentrated electrolytes, multivalent electrolytes, or solvent-free ionic liquids, where the mean-field approximation breaks down. A fourth-order modified Poisson equation is developed that captures the essential features in a simple continuum framework. The model is derived as a gradient approximation for nonlocal electrostatics of interacting effective charges, where the permittivity becomes a differential operator, scaled by a correlation length. The theory is able to capture subtle aspects of molecular simulations and allows for simple calculations of electrokinetic flows in correlated ionic fluids. Charge-density oscillations tend to reduce electro-osmotic flow and streaming current, and overscreening of surface charge can lead to flow reversal. These effects also help to explain the suppression of induced-charge electrokinetic phenomena at high salt concentrations. © 2012 American Physical Society. Source

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: TUES-Type 2 Project | Award Amount: 479.95K | Year: 2013

Building on prior work in motivation, this project is collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data to improve the capability to characterize and explain key characteristics of student motivation in diverse undergraduate courses required for engineering education. This project is engaging instructors in the process of interpreting student motivation data, coupling these research data to motivation theory and course design, and developing course revisions aimed at enhancing STEM students intrinsic drive.

Intellectual Merit
This research rests on prior research that shows that instructors can directly influence student motivation, particularly intrinsic motivation, through their course design decisions. To capitalize on the potential of this relationship, instructors need both a more nuanced understanding of the types of student motivations for learning and access to clearer methods for translating theory and empirical data to course-level insights. This project is measuring individual student responses to diverse STEM environments, pedagogies, and assignments. The temporal evolution of these responses is a focal point in the development of transferable research and generalizable theories for STEM student motivational drive.

The analysis of motivation data in more nuanced ways examines general trends in motivation by course activity, year of study, and gender. Motivation is dynamic and susceptible to frequent and sometimes rapid change. The analysis uses group-based clustering techniques to discover the strength, persistence, and distribution of different types of motivational responses. It employs qualitative analyses to explain the relationships between motivation and the learning environment and elucidate gendered differences in motivation. Using both variable- and cluster-based analyses in multiple course analyses has promise in developing better understanding of the impact of instructional design on effective practice.

The National Academy of Engineering exhorts us to prepare STEM graduates with the tools needed for the world as it will be, not as it is today. Among these tools are creativity, critical thinking, resiliency, flexibility, and self-regulation. Educational research suggests that improved understanding of learner motivation is important to facilitate a systemic shift toward these high-level outcomes. However, a large gap remains between the research-based understanding of student motivation, and the application of those research insights to day-to-day classroom practice.

The output from this project will have an immediate impact on over 20 STEM instructors at the 8 participating institutions, by highlighting activities that prompt different motivational responses and motivational shifts, explaining motivation-environment interactions, and by enabling instructors to use research data to make informed and strategic choices to better encourage self-determined behaviors. The project expands the pool of STEM faculty who can make informed, data-driven decisions by engaging early-career faculty and those with limited prior involvement in STEM educational reform.

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