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A Review of Practical Design Integration Methods for Existing Engineering Curriculum

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Design Pedagogy

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.100.1 - 26.100.12



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Paper Authors


Elissa T. Morris Texas A&M University

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Elissa Morris is a third-year PhD student in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University. Her graduate advisor is Dr. Daniel A. McAdams, and her research focuses on the development of bioinspired design methods for self-assembling systems as well as topics in engineering education. Her anticipated graduation is in August of 2016. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2011.

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Daniel A. McAdams Texas A&M University

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Dr. McAdams is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Graduate Program Director at Texas A&M University. He joined the department in January of 2008 after serving as an Associate (2005-2007) and Assistant Professor (1999-2005) of Mechanical Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. He teaches undergraduate courses in design methods, biologically inspired design, and machine element design and graduate courses in product design and dynamics. Dr. McAdams research interests are in the area of design theory and methodology with specific focus on functional modeling; innovation in concept synthesis; biologically inspired design methods; inclusive design; and technology evolution as applied to product design. He has edited a book on biologically inspired design.

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A review of practical design integration methods for existing engineering curriculumDesign is a fundamental aspect of engineering education. Traditionally, students are challengedwith acquiring a skillset for design during their first year in introductory design courses and theirlast year in senior capstone design courses. In most engineering undergraduate curriculums,throughout the sophomore and junior years, design is not necessarily a focus. Efforts have beenmade in an attempt to incorporate design throughout every year of the engineering curriculum.Some of these notable efforts include the CDIO Initiative implemented at various universitiesand the IDEA program at Northwestern University, both of which showcase a completelyrestructured curriculum. While the CDIO framework and the IDEA program have been proveneffective, not all institutions desire or are practically able to drastically restructure theircurriculum. Therefore, practical methods of design integration to existing curriculum may provemore useful to these institutions. This paper includes a review of practical methods used toincorporate design in various engineering courses, particularly courses taught at the sophomoreand junior level. Specific design integration methods reviewed in this paper include examples ofinquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, and reverse engineeringfrom various universities such as the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Universityof Texas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Purdue. Assessments have been providedto validate effectiveness through a comparison of qualitative results from before and afterimplementation of the aforementioned design integration methods into existing engineeringcurriculum.

Morris, E. T., & McAdams, D. A. (2015, June), A Review of Practical Design Integration Methods for Existing Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23441

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