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A Cross-cohort Dynamics Project Study

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: Dynamics I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kamyar Ghavam University of Waterloo

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PhD, PEng
Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department Department

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Homeyra Pourmohammadali University of Waterloo

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Dr. Homeyra Pourmohammadali received her PhD in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering program and did her postdoctoral fellowship in Applied Mathematics, both at the University of Waterloo and in the biomedical field. She has broad experience in multidisciplinary experimental research and has acted as the lecturer of various engineering courses and as the mentor and facilitator of several teaching-related workshops, at the University of Waterloo. She has four teaching certificates and has been very committed to teaching developments and application of new and effective teaching strategies.

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Lucas Botelho University of Waterloo

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Lucas is a PhD student in The Automated Laser Fabrication (ALFa) Lab under Professor Amir Khajepour, in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo. His research area is primarily in real-time monitoring of thermal properties and geometry in Laser Materials Processing (LMP). Teaching experience includes working as a teaching assistance for Dynamics and Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines.

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Abstract In this research, a cross-cohort course project as part of the core curriculum for mechanical engineering students is discussed. Team of the second-year students in “Dynamics” course are grouped with team of the third-year students in “Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines” course to design, prototype and do dynamic motion analysis of a mechanism with certain tasks and specifications. The teaching and learning activities are defined towards accomplishing four main interrelated objectives:

(1) To provide a design challenge to guide students to implement creative potential solutions: The students use the provided input motion to create a mechanism to complete a desired task and motion, however they have the freedom to choose the size/shapes of the components of their mechanisms as long as the design criteria are met. This provides some room for applying creative solutions and finding the balance between possible over-simple to over-complex designs and their associated costs and efficacy.

(2) To allow second-year teams to consider the design and motion of connected mechanism of third-year team (or vice versa), while analyzing dynamic motion of mechanisms: The students learn the importance of intercommunications between all members of both teams of different cohorts for successful and on-time completion of all project components (design, simulation and prototype). To guide the students towards this path, several milestones were set to help students to focus on finishing a certain component of project at a time and finally allow them to reflect on the overall project.

(3) To introduce related industrial dynamic simulation tools and hands on prototyping skills: The students apply related simulation software and computational tools, to better visualize the motion of all connected mechanisms of their system and more effectively design, analyze and prototype of the mechanism. They implement their designs using ADAMS, a popular industrial multibody dynamic simulation software and adequately use MATLAB to analyze motion of individual components of mechanisms.

(4) To facilitate cross-cohort collaboration within teams with more emphasis on students’ peer exchange of knowledge and experience: This experiential leaning activity prepares students to work within groups similar to the industrial environment including junior and senior teams, with differing experience levels. They have multiple interactions during the completion of each phase of the project, either in the physical meeting places or online spaces allocated within the course websites. The students practice their roles in: a) guided mentor-mentee relationships (effective interaction, meetings inputs/outputs), b) time management skills with on-time delivery of the required components to other teams, and c) scientific/engineering communication with delivery of detailed meaningful data to other teams that make sense. The students’ abilities to successfully complete all phases of the project are reflected in their a) developed ADAMS simulation, b) developed analysis in MATLAB code, c) short progress report and final report, and d) presentation of developed prototype and creativity showcase.

Ghavam, K., & Pourmohammadali, H., & Botelho, L. (2020, June), A Cross-cohort Dynamics Project Study Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--33993

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