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A Longitudinal Exploration of Students’ Functional Modeling Abilities

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Design Methodologies 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34012

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/34012

Download Count

73

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Paper Authors

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Henry David Banks James Madison University

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Henry Banks is an undergraduate engineering student at James Madison University. He has been conducting design research as an undergraduate research assistant since 2017 and is currently working towards his honors thesis.

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Alexander R. Murphy Georgia Institute of Technology

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Alexander R. Murphy is a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He was born and raised in Tampa Florida, where he received a B.S. in mechanical engineering with a minor in creative writing from the University of South Florida. He is proud to have received a NSF GRFP fellowship this past spring of 2018. Currently, he is interested in exploring students' and professionals' mental models and how they change during the design process. Specifically, he is investigating the connections between functional decomposition, systems thinking, and mental model representation. Research interests also include investigation into prototyping strategy in engineering design. After completing his graduate degree, Alexander wants to become academic faculty and start a small business as a design consultant.

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Matt Robert Bohm Florida Polytechnic University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9598-633X

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Matt Bohm is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly). He joined the University in 2016 after spending 6-years as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Louisville (UofL). Bohm’s research examines the intersection of 3 distinct areas, engineering design, engineering education, and big data. Currently, Bohm has an active NSF grant under the Division of Undergraduate Education to examine the effects of systems modeling paradigms with respect to design outcomes and systems thinking and understanding. While at UofL, Bohm was primarily responsible for overseeing the Mechanical Engineering Department’s capstone design program. Prior to his position at UofL, Bohm was a visiting researcher at Oregon State University (OSU) after completing his PhD at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) in 2009. While at S&T, Bohm was also a Lecturer for the Department of Interdisciplinary Engineering and was responsible for coordinating and teaching design and mechanics related courses.

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Julie S. Linsey Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julie S. Linsey is an Associate Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technological. Dr. Linsey received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas. Her research area is design cognition including systematic methods and tools for innovative design with a particular focus on concept generation and design-by-analogy. Her research seeks to understand designers’ cognitive processes with the goal of creating better tools and approaches to enhance engineering design. She has authored over 150 technical publications including over forty journal papers, and ten book chapters.

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Robert L. Nagel James Madison University

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Dr. Robert Nagel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Nagel joined James Madison University after completing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. Nagel teaches and performs research related to engineering design. Specifically, through research, Nagel explores how design interventions commonly used to teach design influence student learning.

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Abstract

Teaching function is often regarded as an important practice to foster systems thinking skills in engineering students. The specifics of how function encourages systems thinking habits and improves design abilities, however, are not well understood. An instrument and accompanying scoring rubrics referred to as ‘Funskill’ have been developed and validated throughout previous research in an effort to gauge students understanding of, and ability to apply functional thinking. In this research, longitudinal data was collected from eight undergraduate engineering students’ sophomore, junior, and senior year, and data were analyzed in order to observe how engineering students’ functional aptitude has progressed throughout a design-oriented undergraduate engineering curriculum with multiple points of exposure to functional thinking. Results show that students’ competency with function does not improve as they progress throughout their undergraduate career. That being said students did demonstrate some degree of systems thinking in this study, but the growth of those skills over time remains ambiguous as FunSkill and its’ corresponding scoring instruments were not explicitly generated to capture students’ systems aptitude. Results from FunSkill are discussed and observations regarding the development of students’ design competency as well as the success and limitations of Funskill are deliberated. This work is part of ongoing research that explores how various instructional tools impact engineering students’ systems thinking tendencies and design skills.

Banks, H. D., & Murphy, A. R., & Bohm, M. R., & Linsey, J. S., & Nagel, R. L. (2020, June), A Longitudinal Exploration of Students’ Functional Modeling Abilities Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34012

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