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A Student Project Emerging From A Tripartite Faculty Collaboration

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Design Projects in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.126.1 - 11.126.11



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Paper Authors


Andrew Otieno Northern Illinois University

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DR. ANDREW W. OTIENO received his Ph.D. from Leeds University, UK in 1994 and has been at Northern Illinois University since August 2000. His research is in the area of finite element modeling, machining processes, tool wear monitoring and micro-machining applications. He has experience in hardware/software interfacing with special applications in machine vision. He is a member of the ASEE and the SME. Dr. Otieno has published several articles in the area of improving manufacturing education.

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Abul Azad Northern Illinois University

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DR. ABUL AZAD is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Technology of Northern Illinois University, USA since July 2001. He completed his PhD in 1994 from the University of Sheffield, UK, which was sponsored by the Commonwealth Scholarship, UK. Subsequently he worked with the University of Sheffield and University of Portsmouth (UK) with various capacities. His research and teaching interests include Internet-based physical experiments, mechatronics, real-time computer control, adaptive/intelligent control, and mobile robotics. Dr. Azad has over 75 referred journal and conference papers and one edited book in these areas. He has active membership and involvement in several learned societies, including the IEE, IEEE, ASEE, and ISA.

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Radha Balamuralikrishna Northern Illinois University

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DR. RADHA BALAMURALIKRISHNA joined the Department of Technology at NIU in August 1997. His undergraduate degree is in Naval Architecture and Shipbuilding from Cochin University, India. Dr. Bala has worked in a shipyard for three years and has taught engineering design graphics and CAD at the University level for over 10 years. He received his M. S. Eng. from Florida Atlantic University and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

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


Simultaneous engineering is principally geared toward accelerated product development through interdisciplinary teamwork. Organizations such as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) have either directly or indirectly emphasized that undergraduates in the discipline should be well prepared in all aspects of teamwork and possess a certain degree of breadth and depth of exposure to various bodies of engineering that are exemplified in present day machines and consumer products1,2.

Interdisciplinary projects have been used in engineering or engineering technology to augment instruction in capstone-type courses. Researchers in education generally agree that an integrated interdisciplinary curriculum results in greater enhanced problem-solving skills and higher achievement; and that motivation to learn increases when students focus on problems that are interesting to solve3. Other researchers such as Jeffries4 and Kitto5 have also emphasized how simultaneous engineering has become an agent for sweeping reforms in manufacturing education. Internationally, the integrated product and process development paradigm of simultaneous engineering has positively impacted manufacturing education in countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, and Japan in recent years6-9. Evidently, simultaneous engineering continues to be the norm in modern manufacturing education and hence a meaningful manufacturing engineering technology program should be aligned with needs of the industry. Indeed, this was the primary motivating force urging the authors to collaborate and conceive an interdisciplinary project.

Simultaneous engineering has been used interchangeably with other terms such as integrated product and process design (IPPD), collaborative engineering, and concurrent engineering. The phrase simultaneous engineering was adopted to describe the core of this project because it is arguably a more popular descriptive approach to better contrast the paradigm of the sequential engineering model that business and industry desired to replace during the past two decades. In addition, newer terms such as IPPD and collaborative engineering represented much smaller shifts in engineering and business practice when contrasted to simultaneous engineering versus sequential engineering.

The objectives of the student project developed by the authors were to provide students majoring in Electrical Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, and Industrial Technology programs with an opportunity to simulate a competitive industry style product development scenario and educate them on the critical dimensions of a true simultaneous engineering experience. The critical dimensions were identified as collaboration (teamwork), multidisciplinary learning, project planning, time management, and advanced technology. Student teams drawn from three different courses (one from each program) were asked to develop a means to monitor people entering a public gathering space. The paper will discuss the implementation of this project, addressing all the above factors and lessons learned.

Otieno, A., & Azad, A., & Balamuralikrishna, R. (2006, June), A Student Project Emerging From A Tripartite Faculty Collaboration Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--827

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