STEM Conference in Addis Ababa May 24-25, 2012 – Final Report

Thursday, June 07, 2012

To: Robert T Meisenhelder

Director, Government R&D Programs Director,
University Gifts & Grants Analog Devices, Inc.(ADI)
3 Technology Way Norwood, MA 02062-9106

Dear Mr. Meisenhelder:

I am very happy to inform you that I had a very successful trip to Ethiopia from May 21 to June 6 2012, where I coordinated the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 24-25, 2012. The conference was organized in collaboration with the 19th Africa Achievement Awards and Economic Forum sponsored by the African Times Newspaper (see http://Awardsforafrica.com) . Although it took two weeks to clear with customs, I was able to finally deliver the 15 laptop computers, 40 Mobile Studio Boards, and other various accessories that were donated by ADI. The training workshops and hands-on sessions would not have been possible without the generous support of ADI. Therefore, I want to send my sincere appreciation on behalf of Morgan State University, and the five universities in Ethiopia to you and ADI. I also want to thank Innovative STEM Solutions (iSTEMS) for providing funding to cover my travel and shipping expenses to Ethiopia.

The two day STEM conference was held on the campus of Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT). It was attended by 15 participants that consisted of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) faculty members, department heads, and members of vice president’s office for academic affairs from five different universities: Addis Ababa (AAU), Hawassa (HU), Bahir Dar (BDU), Debre Birhan (DBU), and Jimma (JU). The training workshops and donated equipment have the potential to impact close to 1,500 to 2,000 ECE students every year among the five universities. This is due to the fact that the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Ethiopia has put a major emphasis on STEM education throughout the country by requiring that 80% of the incoming freshmen class be placed into STEM majors with an emphasis on engineering. A typical freshman ECE class at the five universities is around 300 to 400 students.

The training workshops were held in two different rooms that were provided by the ECE department of AAiT. During the first day of the workshop, participants received training on the Dimensions of Learning (DOL) pedagogy and how it can be used to improve course development and delivery. This workshop was based on my experience in applying the DOL pedagogy in all my courses for the past seven years. The participants were shown actual examples of the implementation of the DOL pedagogy in my courses by looking at sample course syllabus, lecture notes, and example problems with learning outcomes.This part of the workshop/ training was done first because I wanted to make sure that all participants were aware of various effective teaching pedagogies that can improve the development and delivery of any engineering course.

During the second day of the training workshop, I conducted hands-on training on the use of the Mobile Studio technology and pedagogy with the ECE faculty members. The 12 ECE faculty members were able to build simple circuits and test the different features of the Mobile Studio Board and software. They were then given a demonstration of the advanced features of the Mobile Studio software by a faculty member of AAiT that has been using the Mobile Studio board technology since 2009. This is very encouraging because it shows that we have now faculty members in Ethiopia that have enough experience to train the new faculty members from the other universities. This is a clear example of the capacity building and knowledge transfer that can occur when universities in the USA and Africa enter into long term collaboration. Although the addition of the mobile studio boards does not solve all their laboratory equipment problems, each university has told me that it will allow their students to conduct some of the electric circuits and electronics circuits laboratory experiments outside of the ECE laboratories and in regular classrooms and dormitories. They plan to use the boards in their new academic year that starts in October 2012. They appreciated the timing of the delivery of the boards in June 2012, because it will allow the instructors at each university to experiment with the boards during their summer break (July through September). They plan to test some of the laboratory experiments I shared with them during the summer break so that they can incorporate them in their circuits and electronics courses in October.

The five participating universities have shown interest in expanding their relationship and partnership with MSU through the establishment of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). They also indicated that he will be very happy to look into new type of research, teaching/training collaboration with MSU. I will keep in touch with each university during the summer period and will report on their progress on a regular basis during the upcoming 2012/2013 calendar year. I have included several pictures taken during the conference. Each university has indicated to me that they plan to send additional pictures with students using the boards in the upcoming 2012/2013 calendar year. The following pages indicate a sample letter that was written by our department chairperson, Dr. Craig Scott to each university’s ECE department chair as part of the initial agreement between the two ECE departments.

I want to conclude my report by indicating that the five universities are sending their outmost appreciation to you Mr. Meisenhelder of ADI, and Mr. Sweets of iSTEMS for the financial support. They also are grateful to Dr. Scott, Chair of the ECE department at MSU and are looking forward to expanding their teaching and possibly research collaborations with MSU as they strive to offer an effective recent ECE curriculum to the next generation of students . I strongly feel that the use of the Mobile Studio boards will improve and shape the educational experience of the close to 2,000 ECE majors that will be graduating from the five universities (AAU, HU, BDU, DBU, and JU) in the next 3 to 5 years.

Sincerely,

Dr. Yacob Astatke

Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies
ECE Department
Morgan State University
443-885-4208
yacob.astatke@morgan.edu
http://dryacobastatke.com
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Sample letter sent to each University in Ethiopia receiving the donation

Tuesday, May 09, 2012
Dr. Dereje Hailemariam
Acting Head of the ECE Department
Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT)
Dear Dr. Dereje:

I am happy to inform you that the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department of Morgan State University has agreed to send several laboratory parts and components that can be used by your ECE department to teach the various laboratory courses. The 5 Toshiba laptop computers, 10 Mobile Studio Boards, and other ECE laboratory parts and components are given to your department are FREE of charge and have a total estimated value of around $3,312 USD. Please see the attached equipment list for more details.  The donations are provided to you FREE of charge in collaboration with our two corporate sponsors: Analog Devices Inc (ADI), which donated ALL the Mobile Studio IOBoards TM and the laptops; and Innovative STEM Solutions (ISTEMS), which provided all the funds for the shipping of all the equipment and transportation to our faculty member, Dr. Yacob Astatke. Dr. Astatke has indicated to us that you have a vibrant and growing Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at Hawassa University. It is therefore our pleasure to assist you in any capacity as you strive to provide an effective and up to date curriculum to your students. I understand the Dr. Yacob Astatke has been working with your department since 2009. Therefore, I am hoping that the new laptop computers and additional equipment, parts and components that we are sending to you for FREE can be used to enhance your ECE laboratory courses. Dr. Yacob Astatke has been a faculty member in our department for the past 18 years and is currently the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in our department. He is the lead person and Principal Investigator (P.I) for the Mobile Studio Project in our department.

In order to receive this equipment donation free of charge, your department has to agree to send at least two teaching staff members to participate in the upcoming “Africa Achievement Awards,” Economic Forum, and Science Technology Engineering and Math Conference, which will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 24- 25, 2012. The two day training workshops will be conducted by Dr. Astatke and other engineers and scientists from the USA and Africa on the campus of the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT). Your department has to also agree to provide us a summary report twice per year (once every semester) indicating how the new equipment is being used to teach ECE laboratory courses. We will send you a website link and forms that can be used to complete the reports. Therefore, it is with great pride that I welcome your institution into our project and I am sure that we will have a very fruitful relationship between our two ECE departments in the years to come. Dr. Yacob Astatke will serve as the contact person for any communication between our two departments. He will bring the new laptop computers, and ECE laboratory equipment, parts and components to Addis Ababa on May 21st, and will donate all the equipment to your university during the “Africa Achievement Awards” ceremony on May 25th , 2012.

Please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Dr. Yacob Astatke if you need more information.

Sincerely,
Dr. Craig J. Scott
Professor and Chair of the ECE Department
Morgan State University

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Pictures from the STEM Conference in Addis Ababa, May 24-25 2012

Day 1 Training on DOL Pedagogy

Day 2 Training on Mobile Studio Technology

Day 2 Training on Mobile Studio Technology

AAiT ECE instructor demonstrating the Mobile Studio Software

Day 2 Afternoon Workshop on Engineering Education

Day 2 Afternoon Workshop on Engineering Education

Some of the faculty and staff from 5 different universities that attended the Conference

Graduate student from the Univ of California conducting a demonstration