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The transfer of scanning probe microscope research to the university classroom: Lessons in distributed collaboration

, Stanford University, United States

Stanford University . Awarded


This dissertation examines the hypothesis that using new research results, as the central component of a new course developed by a Ph.D. candidate, is an effective way to transfer technology to the undergraduate and graduate classroom. A set of sub hypotheses is also examined regarding the implementation of state of the art online equipment to support the course. The technology transfer outlined here took place in two ways, (1) Asynchronously, in the form of a course that was built around two years of leading micro/nanotechnology research, before the research was completed and published, and (2) Synchronously, in the form of specialized online laboratory equipment used to support the course. This work is premised on the need to educate science and engineering students in the latest technology, and specifically in micro and nanotechnologies, which have the added demands of multidisciplinary content and a shortage of qualified graduates for an expanding job market. The dissertation presents the following research results: (1) Curriculum for the new SPM (Scanning Probe Microscope) course; (2) Summation of student response and recommendations for the new course; (3) Observations of the difference between the online and local SPM use in the course; (4) Statistical analysis of telepointer implementation in the online SPM in regard to preference and performance; (5) A set of recommendations for further testing and implementation of the online SPM interface.

The course was designed to take students through the development of the latest SPM technology by retracing the steps of research done at Stanford University. Student response was very positive.

In the first online SPM study, students preferred the local microscope to the online microscope, but course performance and SPM knowledge did not differ significantly between groups. In a follow up study, a telepointer was introduced into the online interface and two experiments were performed involving a remote expert communicating with small groups to explain an online SPM interface. The conclusion of this study is that the telepointer makes a significant difference in task completion time and long-term memory, and may possibly affect preference.


Adams, J.D. The transfer of scanning probe microscope research to the university classroom: Lessons in distributed collaboration. Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University. Retrieved October 24, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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