June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.27.1 - 12.27.11
A Course Project With A Focus On Product Development Process Abstract One of the educational objectives for the Electronics Engineering Technology graduates at Texas A & M University is to have the students possess the technical skills to be immediately productive and have successful careers in industry. To this end, we design a course project to walk the students through a typical product development process. The students begin their project by brainstorming for new product ideas. Tools such as the Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Critical Path Method (CMP), System Engineering, and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) are employed to conduct their course project. By the end of the project they have a very good understanding of the overall product development process. Through this kind of course projects, the students are well-prepared for their capstone design project.
Typically, a graduating engineering technology student will find a significant gap between what they learned in the classroom and what they face at work. The educational goal is to reduce the gap by giving students opportunities to work on practical projects in different courses and by creating an environment in the classroom/lab that is as close to the real world as possible. A course project, designed to familiarize the students with real world product development processes, is discussed in this paper. The goals for the course project are three fold: to familiarize students with product development process; to familiarize students with tools commonly used in product development; and to allow students to practice what they learned in class about electronic system interfacing. The approach presented in this paper can be adopted by other courses simply by replacing the third goal with something specific to the alternate course.
Traditionally, before the capstone project, students work on courses projects where the design requirements are specified by the faculty. The students use the knowledge they learned in the class to design a circuit and build a prototype. After several “cookbook” projects in Junior level courses, the students are exposed to the real world product development process in their capstone project. In other words, the students learn the technical aspects of designing hardware in many courses before their capstone project; then they learn and practice project management and product development in their capstone project. We believe that this needs to be changed. Some of the basic ideas and tools commonly used in product development should be taught and practiced just like Ohm’s Law. Like any other knowledge, the tools and skills needed for product development should be learned and practiced in as many course projects as possible until it becomes a way of life in conducting an engineering project.
The product development process and its importance are addressed in detail in references9,10. Dutson discussed the teaching of product development processes in capstone projects in reference6. Pauley et al11 used product development process for curriculum improvement. Some universities emphasize teaching of system engineering, quality control, and program
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