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A Multidisciplinary Environment For Cooperative Learning Using Design Of Experiments And Polymer Processing

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Course Innovation I

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.65.1 - 13.65.13



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Thornton Emerson Climate Technologies

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Kyle Shipp Kettering University

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Tony Lin Kettering University

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



The Advanced Quality Control class in the Industrial Engineering Department at Kettering University has taken a unique approach to practical learning by turning the course into a multidisciplinary effort with the Mechanical Engineering Polymer Processing course. Building on the knowledge developed in prerequisite courses, the IE student will use tools in Statistical Process Control (SPC), Design of Experiments (DoE), and Response Surface Methodology (RSM) to characterize and optimize the process of injection molding of plastics. The mechanical engineering students will better understand the significant effect of certain factors (parameters) on the quality of injection molded parts by using the statistical tools available. In this paper, we will discuss how this group of students interact and gain knowledge and skills through teamwork. We will also discuss how integration of the two engineering disciplines using DoE and polymer processing provides the students with the experience of the real-world work environment.


At a time when the working world is constantly changing and advancing, schools must also change and advance to ensure that they are providing their students with the most up-to-date education possible. We are no longer in a time where simulated examples and case studies will suffice. Students need real, practical learning environments where they uncover and solve the problem together. They need to experience in the classroom the same unexpected problems and difficulties that they will face in the real working world and the team dynamic necessary to resolve them. It is in dealing with these unexpected problems that students really begin to develop the capability to meet future challenges. According to Susan Prescott, “Employers report that their biggest problems center around the inability of people to interact productively. Students need to hear that class groupwork is valuable preparation for future problem solving in team settings in the work place as well as an opportunity to more effectively learn the course curriculum1.” By providing students with a student-driven, multidisciplinary experience, they gain independence and confidence in their ability to apply what they have learned to solve problems that cannot be found in a textbook or case study, problems that they face today and problems that they have yet to discover

To give students this type of experience, Kettering University has embarked on a path of multidisciplinary learning. We have created a learning environment where the students are the driving force for the class, where industrial engineering students teach mechanical engineering students and mechanical engineering students teach industrial engineering students. In the class, students can look to each other for answers and broaden their understanding of engineering knowledge and skills. They are beginning to realize that they have a wonderful asset at their immediate disposal and opportunities to learn from each other. By having industrial engineering

Thornton, A., & Shipp, K., & Lin, T. (2008, June), A Multidisciplinary Environment For Cooperative Learning Using Design Of Experiments And Polymer Processing Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4230

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