Asee peer logo

Approaches to Engaging Students in Engineering Design and Problem Solving

Download Paper |

Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Research on Engineering Design Education

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

32

Page Numbers

22.221.1 - 22.221.32

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17502

Download Count

29

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Ann F. McKenna Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

visit author page

Ann McKenna is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering in the College of Technology and Innovation at Arizona State University (ASU). Prior to joining ASU she served as a program officer at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education and was on the faculty of the Segal Design Institute and Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University. Dr. McKenna’s research focuses on understanding the cognitive and social processes of design and innovation, design teaching and learning, the role of adaptive expertise in design and innovation, diffusion of educational innovations, and teaching approaches of engineering faculty. Dr. McKenna received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

visit author page

biography

Gül E. Okudan-Kremer Pennsylvania State University, University Park

visit author page

Gul Kremer is an Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Industrial Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. She received her Ph.D. from University of Missouri, Rolla in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering. Her research interests include multi-criteria decision analysis methods applied to improvement of products and systems and enhancing creativity in engineering design settings. Her published work appears in journals such as Journal of Mechanical Design, Journal of Engineering Design, Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Journal of Engineering Education, European Journal of Engineering Education and Technovation. She is a member of IIE, ASME, and ASEE. She is also a National Research Council-U.S. AFRL Summer Faculty Fellow for the Human Effectiveness Directorate (2002 - 2004), an invited participant of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers in Engineering Education Symposium (2009), and a Fulbright Scholar to Ireland (2010).

visit author page

biography

Carolyn Plumb Montana State University

visit author page

Carolyn Plumb is the Director of Educational Innovation and Strategic Projects at Montana State University. She has been involved in engineering education for over 20 years.

visit author page

biography

Hyun Kyoung Ro Penn State University

visit author page

Hyun has been working as a graduate assistant on the Engineer of 2020 research grants that the Center for the Study of Higher Education received from the National Science Foundation.

visit author page

biography

Alexander Yin Pennsylvania State University, University Park

visit author page

Alexander Yin is the Senior Planning Research Associate in the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment. Prior to his current appointment, Alex was on the staff of Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. In that position he worked for Drs. Lisa R. Lattuca and Patrick T. Terenzini as a Senior Project Associate for two NSF-funded studies of engineering education: Prototype to Production and Prototyping the Engineering of 2020. Alex has a Ph.D. in higher education and a master's in applied statistics from Penn State. He also earned a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Approaches to Engaging Students in Engineering Design and Problem SolvingThis research reports results on the curricular, pedagogical, cultural, and organizational featuresof how six diverse engineering institutions embed design and problem solving throughout theirundergraduate curricula. Findings are drawn from the Prototype to Production: Processes andConditions for Preparing the Engineer of 2020 (P2P) and Prototyping the Engineer of 2020: A 360-degree Study of Effective Education (P360) projects. P2P collected data from 30 four-yearengineering schools to provide information on the structure of the design curriculum in morethan 100 engineering programs. P360’s qualitative data from six case studies augments thequantitative P2P data with concrete examples of effective design curricula and co-curricularactivities. The projects collected data from multiple sources: faculty, program chairs,administrators, and undergraduate engineering students. The full study concentrates on threeattributes of the engineer of 2020: design and problem-solving skills, interdisciplinarycompetence, and contextual competence; however, the current paper focuses specifically oneffective strategies for teaching design and problem solving. The paper reports findings from thesix case study institutions of Arizona State University (Tempe & Polytechnic Campuses),Harvey Mudd College, Howard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University ofMichigan, and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.Using the framework shown in Figure 1 we assume that learning is situated in social, cultural,and institutional contexts that strongly influence what is learned and how it is learned (Salomon& Perkins, 1998; Wertsch, 1985). During our data collection and subsequent analyses weidentified several distinct ways that each of our case study institutions engage students in theprocess of engineering design and problem solving. Consistent with the framework, classroomexperiences are only one way that our institutions engaged students in design. Other prominentco- and extra-curricula experiences include individual research experiences with faculty, designcompetitions, global overseas design projects, independent study, industry-sponsored designopportunities, and several other programs unique to the six respective institutions. The paper willprovide detailed examples of how these varied design-focused learning opportunities are situatedorganizationally, and the different approaches for supporting, implementing, and assessing theactivities.Moreover, the literature tends to describe design and problem solving together as equivalent andinterchangeable terms. However, during our study we found that these terms have differentmeanings depending on the context. In particular, the learning goals and subsequent methods forassessment are often quite different for “design” and “analytical problem solving.” The currentpaper will also provide examples of how the six institutions conceptualize these terms in the waythey implement educational activities to support problem solving versus design activities. Resultsfrom this study provide a window into very specific details for how several distinct institutionsengage students in design and problem solving, from the student, faculty and administratorperspectives. These detailed multi-perspective examples, organized around the features of thecollege experience as shown in Figure 1, provide concrete information for how engineeringprograms might implement, revise, or scale design activities at their own institutions.Figure 1. Comprehensive model of influences on student learning and persistence (Adapted fromTerenzini & Reason, 2005).ReferencesSalomon, G., & Perkins, D. (1998). Individual and social aspects of learning. In Review ofResearch in Education, Volume 23 (pp. 1-24). Washington, DC: AERA.Terenzini, P. T., & Reason, R. D. (2005). Parsing the first year of college: A conceptualframework for studying college impacts on students. Paper presented to the Association for theStudy of Higher Education, Philadelphia, PA.Wertsch, J.V. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversity Press.

McKenna, A. F., & Okudan-Kremer, G. E., & Plumb, C., & Ro, H. K., & Yin, A. (2011, June), Approaches to Engaging Students in Engineering Design and Problem Solving Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17502

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015