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Assessing the design of a rapid product design cycle activity that develops student understanding of engineering design and professional practice

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Design Pedagogy and Curriculum 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.218.1 - 23.218.22



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Paper Authors


Patricia Kristine Sheridan University of Toronto

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Patricia Kristine Sheridan is a PhD Candidate with the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering
at the University of Toronto. She holds a BASc and MASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University
of Toronto. She is a member of the teaching team and a course developer for the Praxis cornerstone design

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Robert Irish University of Toronto

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Jason A. Foster University of Toronto

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Using a rapid product design cycle to develop an understanding of the engineering profession and teamworkThis research analyzes the efficacy of a rapid, interdependent design sequence on studentlearning, engagement, and teamwork. The Product Design project takes students through athree-part waterfall design sequence -- problem formulation, conceptual design, and detaileddesign. Our objective was to give the students an appreciation of the challenges faced byinterdependent teams across multiple design different stages within tight time constraints.All first year students are required to take a sequence of cornerstone design and communicationcourses in which they practice engineering design in four contexts across four distinct designprojects. Previously the third design project focused on improving the engineering studentexperience, with small teams of students first framing and then solving an appropriate challenge.While the project provided an appropriate foundational design experience, it failed to movebeyond a paper conceptual design into the more challenging aspects of embodying design work.A new Product Design project was designed to push students beyond the conceptual designphase of a design process, and simulate a real-world work environment by increasing theinterdependence between student teams and the perceived value of engineering communication.Three phases of the project were each completed in rapid succession by a different team,spending 8, 11, and 13 days on each phase respectively. Thus, each team worked on a differentproduct at each stage of the design. Each team’s phase deliverable was anonymized and passedon to another student team as the starting point for the next phase. Additionally, during thedetailed design phase, solid modelling and basic engineering drawings were introduced asrequired components of the detailed design deliverable.This paper examines the administrative, logistical, assessment, student engagement and learning,and student response to participating in this highly accelerated product design cycle in twoiterations of the course. Additionally, the frequency of cognitive disruptions in terms of projectwork within the same team (3 different design tasks in 5 weeks) is analysed from theperspectives of team building and cohesivity and their effects on team learning and performance.

Sheridan, P. K., & Irish, R., & Foster, J. A. (2013, June), Assessing the design of a rapid product design cycle activity that develops student understanding of engineering design and professional practice Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19232

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