June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.192.1 - 24.192.17
Arab Idols: Multidisciplinary Mentoring Panel Critiques Design Team PerformanceThe multidisciplinary engineering design course described in this paper was conceived to givestudents the opportunity to practice both discipline specific and inter-disciplinary collaborativetasks in the solution of a design problem requiring diverse skills. The authors recommend aneducational model that provides ongoing weekly panel reviews between multidisciplinarystudent teams engaged in a design project and a multidisciplinary mentoring panel. The formatdeveloped as the principal investigators/mentors realized they were able to provide teams diverselive feedback from the different perspectives of their disciplines. In a format resemblinginteractive reality talent shows the faculty panel critiqued the “performances” of the designteams’ progress on a weekly basis. The format not only provided critical project technicalguidance and project tracking but had the added bonus of enhancing the students’ soft skillsthrough weekly presentations.The course combined second-year mechanical and electrical majors on 15 teams whose semesterproject, Mobile Vehicle for Hazardous Waste Cleanup, was chosen for its multidisciplinarycomponents requiring both parallel and integrated efforts on the part of the students. Thementoring panel was comprised of 3 technical faculty (2 Mechanical, 1 Electrical) and 1Communications faculty, each offering different views and recommendations to the teams.Students were surveyed about their satisfaction with the course and project. They acknowledgedseveral dynamics that evolved from the multidisciplinary format as positive: A cumulative effect of multidisciplinary information gathering Eye-opening preparation for future work with other disciplines (learning what other disciplines do, how they approach problems differently) The unexpected acquisition of skills in the “other” disciplines Enhancement of soft skills through multidisciplinary interpersonal socializationThe students acknowledged the following challenges: Lack of understanding of the other disciplines (jargon, technical skills) Difficulty of combining the multidisciplinary subsystems of the project into their designMultidisciplinary mentors acknowledged the experience as positive: A fuller understanding of team progress through the different perspectives of other instructors Enlargement of the capacity to offer solutions to teams that are “stuck” Unexpected crossover of technical and soft skill advice (mechanical instructors directing presentation posture, communications instructor suggesting a design alternative) Unique and exceptional professional opportunity to pursue a common goal with multidisciplinary colleaguesThe “Arab Idol” format proved that such recognizable venues not only cross cultures but inspirenew frameworks for multidisciplinary engineering design as well.
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