July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Engineering graduates from traditional disciplines ( e.g. mechanical engineering) have felt increasing pressure to develop holistic, systems thinking mindsets to tackle today's complex engineering challenges. Some engineering programs have reacted by introducing the fundamentals of systems thinking and systems engineering throughout design courses. However, a stronger approach might be to thread systems thinking / systems engineering skills vertically throughout the curriculum to build students' knowledge gradually. This paper considers infusing such an introduction into a freshman level introduction to mechanical engineering course.
The intervention studied in this paper consists of two parts: an online learning module developed using the Online Learning Initiative (OLI) platform that introduces both the engineering design process and the fundamentals of systems thinking, and an in-class design exercise in which student groups brainstormed the design of a quadcopter delivery service. Traditionally, the in-class portion was used to introduce the material now contained in the OLI. The goal was to solidify students' skills by allowing students to directly practice their systems thinking / systems engineering knowledge. The effectiveness of the OLI was determined through the use of the Systems Thinking Skills Survey, which was administered to some students before and some after the OLI. The overall approach was effective in better engaging students in a remote learning environment.
Bedillion, M. D., & Muci-Kuchler, K. H., & Birrenkott, C. M., & Lovett, M., & Pottmeyer, L. O. (2021, July), A Combined Online Learning / In-Class Activity Approach to Teach Systems Thinking and Systems Engineering Skills to Freshman Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36562
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