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Board # 104 : Towards a Pedagogical Framework for Project-Based Engineering Design Courses

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27674

Download Count

13

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Paper Authors

biography

Martina Moyne University College Dublin

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Martina Moyne is a PhD candidate in the School of Mechanical and Material Engineering, University College Dublin (UCD). She received her BDes in Industrial Design and MSc in Medical Device Design in the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and ME in Management in UCD. She is a part time lecturer in NCAD and prior to pursuing her PhD, she worked for six years in Nypro Healthcare as a Senior Product Engineer. Her research interests are in design engineering pedagogy, medical device design and human factors engineering.

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Maxwell Herman Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science

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Maxwell Herman is a researcher working in the John A. Paulson school of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. He received his BS and MS from Carnegie Mellon University in 2013. He is currently working as an software engineer designing and building online education tools for use in the classroom.

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Conor Walsh P.E. Harvard University

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Conor is Associate Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. He is the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, medical and business communities to develop smart medical devices and translate them to industrial partners in collaboration with the Wyss Institute's Advanced Technology Team. Conor's research projects focus on wearable robotics to assist the disabled and able-bodied, as well as on tools for minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment of disease. His educational interest is in the area of medical device innovation where he mentors student design teams on projects with clinicians in Boston and in emerging regions such as India. Conor received his B.A.I and B.A. degrees in Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in 2003 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 and 2010. Conor is Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is also the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, medical and business communities to develop smart medical devices and translate them to industrial partners in collaboration with the Wyss Institute's Advanced Technology Team. Conor received his B.A.I and B.A. degrees in Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in 2003 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 and 2010. He has been the recipient of over a dozen invention, entrepreneurship, and student mentoring awards including the MIT $100K business plan competition, Whitaker Health Sciences Fund Fellowship, and the MIT Graduate Student Mentor of the Year.

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Donal Padraic Holland University College Dublin

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Dónal Holland is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at University College Dublin, and an Associate at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His research interests include engineering design education, methodologies for mechanical design, and the development of soft and wearable robotic technologies. He leads the development of the Soft Robotics Toolkit (http://softroboticstoolkit.com/).

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Abstract

Title: Towards a Pedagogical Framework for Project-Based Engineering Design Courses Project-based engineering design courses are increasingly common in undergraduate engineering programs. However, there is a paucity of guidelines to support the development of these new courses or to evaluate the efficacy of existing programs. This is due, in part, to the non-traditional and open-ended nature of these courses when compared to typical engineering courses. Design knowledge is largely procedural rather than declarative; students must learn to follow a methodical (top-down, breadth-first) process, while learning to adapt this problem-solving strategy in response to the uncertainty inherent in design. The appropriate balance between the flexible and methodical aspects of design problem solving is highly context-dependent; it is difficult to structure courses to allow the exploration and coaching that students need in order to develop the required judgment skills.

This poster presents preliminary results from a project aimed at better understanding how engineering design is taught and learned. The overall aim of the project is to develop a pedagogical framework to guide the development, evaluation, and improvement of learning environments for project-based engineering design courses. A web-based instructional tool and data collection system has been developed: the Design Evaluation and Feedback Tool (DEFT). The DEFT system consists of regular short questionnaires to be completed by students and instructors. The resulting data is used to generate reports that allow students to visualize and reflect on their own design processes and to receive timely feedback from instructors, while allowing educators to monitor students’ progress and identify recurring difficulties or misconceptions. The tool has the added advantage of enabling research data to be collected from large numbers of student designers in a standard format across a wide variety of learning environments. It is envisaged that this will allow comparisons to be drawn between alternative learning environments and teaching methods for engineering design, which will in turn inform the development of the proposed pedagogical framework.

The poster presents the DEFT system and describes its development and testing. The tool began as a hybrid of paper-based and online surveys used in a single undergraduate design class, and has now been developed into a custom-built online system that automates the collection, processing, and reporting of data. Over 300 students and twelve instructors in two countries have used the DEFT system to date. Interviews with students and instructors, as well as participant observation research in the classroom, have been used to improve the design of the tool and to validate the data collected. A systematic review of the design education literature has been conducted, and the results will be used to inform future refinements of the DEFT system. The poster concludes with a discussion of future work, and in particular, plans to make the tool publicly available and to scale its use to a large number of engineering design courses.

Moyne, M., & Herman, M., & Walsh, C., & Holland, D. P. (2017, June), Board # 104 : Towards a Pedagogical Framework for Project-Based Engineering Design Courses Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27674

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