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The Cyber-Infrastructure-Based Engineering Repositories for Undergraduates (CIBER-U) initiatives are funded as part of the National Science Foundation Cyberinfrastructure Training, Education, Advancement, and Mentoring for Our 21st Century Workforce (CI-TEAM) Program (OCI-0636273 and OCI-0537220). In the demonstration initiative, a team from Pennsylvania State University, University of Missouri-Rolla, Drexel University, and University at Buffalo – SUNY are investigating how digital design repositories can be used to enhance instruction and learning in engineering undergraduate curricula. In particular, the National Design Repository of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) data for consumer and industrial products is being extended to enhance instruction and learning in freshmen-, sophomore-, junior-, and senior-level engineering design courses, including related issues with respect to accessing, storing, searching, and reusing CAD models and data.

In the implementation initiative, a collaborative online learning laboratory is being deployed that utilizes a shared set of cyberinfrastructure-based repositories, design tools, and teaching materials to support educational initiatives and outreach rooted in engineering dissection. The collaboratory will support both physical and virtual dissection of engineered products and systems in 41 engineering, computer science (CS), and information sciences and technology (IST) courses at 9 different universities: Penn State, Bucknell University, Drexel University, Virginia Tech, Northwestern University, University of Missouri-Rolla, University at Buffalo, Sweet Briar College, and Norfolk State University. The project involves 32 faculty at these universities from 12 different disciplines in engineering, engineering education, computer science, information sciences and technology, education, and psychology.

The results of these collaborative projects will establish a unique closed-loop application of cyberinfrastructure that combines not only engineering and CS/IST in CI-related activities but will also significantly impact more than 12,000 engineering and CS/IST students who are participating in the collaboratory. Other activities with significant broad impact include assessment of the educational impact and CI competency of the participants; outreach programs to underrepresented groups; REU, RET, and K-12 initiatives; and an engineering dissection textbook based on the developed educational materials.