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A Massively Large Student Modeling Assignment (Mlsma)

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Teaching Strategies in Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.58.1 - 9.58.8



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Paper Authors

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Jon Duff

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Massively Large Student Modeling Assignment (MLSMA)

Dr. Jon M. Duff Information and Management Technology Arizona State University


Most curricula in engineering and technology find a “capstone project” to be highly beneficial in preparing soon-to-be-graduated majors. One consideration that confounds a successful capstone project is matching a task of sufficient significance with realistic expectations of student success. Students may possess the requisite skills but a project that tests those skills may be difficult to identify. But more likely, student skills (along with time and motivation) may preclude engaging in a significant project. An important part of a significant project is the management of resources—both technological and manpower—and though individual assignments may make grading and evaluation easier, the significance of the problem must necessarily be reduced. One person simply cannot accomplish an involved task in one semester. The answer is to engage in a group project, but a group project appropriate for modular solution. A group of seniors in the Graphic Information Technology program at Arizona State University were organized to model the university’s 13,000 square foot Microelectronics Teaching Factory (MTF), an on-site class 100 clean room integrated circuit manufacturing facility. This assignment posed several significant modeling challenges. First, like any process facility, the “as built” condition of the MTF differed significantly from the original engineering and facility drawings. Although full construction drawings (in electronic format) were available as the basis for modeling the facility, these drawings had to be physically checked against what existed on the manufacturing floor. Second, students were unfamiliar with the processing equipment used in chip manufacture so they had to employ a full panoply of skills to gather sufficient information before modeling. They used the original construction drawings, engineering drawings from equipment manufacturers, on-site sketches after donning “bunny suits”, and digital photographs. MTF managers allowed students full access to the facility and it was common to see modelers, looking like snowmen, up on lifts measuring details. The result of the project was an accurate description of the MTF suitable for an “as built” model; models were appropriate for training, promotion, and hopefully as the basis for eventual maintenance and redesign. Additionally, the assignment prepared this group of seniors to expect tasks of similar significance once they enter the workforce.


Most teachers of CAD and related topics struggle with a difficult problem: How to develop technical skills and understanding to the point where students can engage in significant design and modeling tasks. This is often addressed in senior-level capstone courses and much has been written about their benefits. Another solution may be to make internships an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum, or by designing the program around co-op experiences. However, a downside of both internships and co-ops is that the activities (usually) occur off campus, and out of the structure of curriculum. In other words, there may be significant benefit, but weaving those benefits into other curricular activities may be problematic.

Duff, J. (2004, June), A Massively Large Student Modeling Assignment (Mlsma) Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12955

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