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Adopting A Systems Approach To Design A Freshman Course In Technical Graphics Meeting The Societal Need For Articulation

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.133.1 - 10.133.8

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Paper Authors

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Radha Balamuralikrishna

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Clifford Mirman

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


Introduction The freshman course in engineering or technical graphics has received wide attention in recent times 1. There is a significant variation in course offerings taken across engineering and technology degree programs nationwide both at two-year and four-year institutions. For example, in problem solving, some courses are solely restricted to structured drafting exercises taken from typical textbooks and others are devoted to an ill-structured design activity or creative problem solving2. Similarly, when it comes to computer usage, certain courses involve extensive coverage of CAD commands even at the expense of fundamental concepts in engineering graphics, where as other courses cover very little CAD with emphasis on concepts, pencil sketching and print reading. Coupled with all the possibilities that exist in terms of selecting a CAD package for instruction, it is no exaggeration to say that it has become a nightmare to decide on both the content domain and pedagogical aspects of this introductory course.

This paper will examine the different variations of a freshman technical graphics course and weigh the pros and cons of each. Not withstanding all the differences that exist among engineering graphics educators on this subject in terms of curriculum and instructional philosophy, there are still a large number of course transfers between programs and across institutions3. The Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) provides a potential national model for seamless transfer of college credit within and between 2-year and 4-year institutions, and technical graphics features prominently on the list of articulated courses. We discuss the prevailing IAI briefly and how it applies to technology degree programs. Our studies indicate a need for further research on best practices for a freshman technical graphics course and ensure that certain basic standards are met wherever the course may be offered.

Technical or Engineering Graphics – An Aerial Survey A course in technical or engineering graphics is usually a requirement for students majoring in but not limited to engineering, engineering technology, architecture or industrial technology. The importance assigned to this course, if any, does seem to vary depending on the specific sub- disciplines within each of these four broad disciplines. For example, a mechanical engineering curriculum would place greater emphasis on this course as opposed to electrical and electronics engineering. Similarly, a curriculum for manufacturing technology would most likely place a higher priority on engineering graphics than would a safety or industrial distribution curricula. However, it is safe to say that true to the maxim “a picture is worth a thousand words”, a required first course in engineering graphics is ubiquitous in engineering and technology education all over the globe. This is a course that enjoys considerable enrollment and arguably, touches the lives of students and faculty affiliated with engineering or technology to a high degree of significance.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright© 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Balamuralikrishna, R., & Mirman, C. (2005, June), Adopting A Systems Approach To Design A Freshman Course In Technical Graphics Meeting The Societal Need For Articulation Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

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