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A Design Course in China for U.S. and Chinese Students Involving an American Corporation

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Faculty and Program Developments, Exchanges, and Partnerships

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.33.1 - 22.33.17



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Paper Authors


Carl F. Zorowski North Carolina State University

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Carnegie Inst.of Technology, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, 1956 - 1962; North Carolina State University, Associate professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Associate Professor, 1962 - 1965, Professor, 1964 - 1966, Reynolds Professor, 1966 - 1997, College of Engineering, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, 1978 - 1983, Institute for Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Director, 1985 - 1993, NSF SUCCEED Coalition, Director, 1993 -1 997, Reynolds Professor Emeritus, 1997- present.

B.S.M.E., 1952, Carnegie Institute of Technology.
M.S.M.E., 1953, Carnegie Institute of Technology.
Ph.D.M.E., 1956, Carnegie Institute of Technology.

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A Design Course in China for US and Chinese Students Involving an American Corporation This paper reports on the development, implementation and outcomes of a study abroadsummer practical design course taught in China for junior/senior mechanical engineeringstudents from N.C. State and Zhejiang Universities with participation of a nearby Caterpillarlarge equipment assembly facility. The primary objective was to have students experience andlearn to deal with their language, cultural and educational differences by working in designteams on a real world engineering problem with an American company in China. An equallyimportant objective was to learn how the two academic partners and industrial participant couldbest work together to produce a model for a successful and sustainable program. The major issues that had to be considered and resolved in planning this programincluded: recruitment and selection of students, academic calendar and course credit differences,hosting visiting students, course content material, class and design session scheduling,instructional responsibility and delivery, design team structure, character and scope of the designeffort, realistic problem choice, industrial confidentiality concerns, final reporting proceduresand the student’s sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. How these issues were addressed,resolved and implemented is discussed together with some interesting unanticipated problemsthat arose during the program and how they were dealt with. Included are descriptions of thecourse content material, the design project problem selected, the project effort schedule andexamples of proposed design solutions. The desired outcomes of the program to be experienced by the students were to be:functioning as an effective team member across US/ Chinese cultural differences, dealing with arealistic industry need, working effectively within prescribed constraints, defining realistic goalsand expectations, establishing a workable time table, generating practical solution concepts andprofessionally delivering a creditable and acceptable result. How and to what extent theseoutcomes were achieved is presented and discussed along with results from a student postprogram assessment. One measure of success was the adoption of one student solution byCaterpillar and its inclusion in a subsystem redesign resulting in a 28% production costreduction.   

Zorowski, C. F. (2011, June), A Design Course in China for U.S. and Chinese Students Involving an American Corporation Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17315

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