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Collaborative Efforts In Engineering And Technology Education

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Current Issues in Aerospace Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.316.1 - 9.316.7



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Paper Authors

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Ronald Sterkenburg

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Jim Lampe

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David Stanley

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

Collaborative Efforts in Engineering and Technology Education

R. Sterkenburg, D.L. Stanley & J. Lampe

Purdue University

Abstract - Over the last two years, Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Aviation Technology (AT) students at Purdue University have been collaborating and competing in several aviation related design-build projects. This paper will describe three such projects: The Personal lifting vehicle (PLV), the lighter than air vehicle (Blimp), and the Hovercraft. Elements of collaboration, competition, and design-build strategies were utilized in an effort to increase student motivation. In the first project students of ME and AT worked together to design and build a Personal Lifting Vehicle (PLV); a prototype was built but the team was unable to satisfactorily resolve some control problems with the vehicle. For the second project a design was chosen that could more realistically be achieved, and the effort was to culminate in a race between the two design blimps. The element of competition greatly improved the motivation of the students and both teams successfully constructed and raced the 12 feet long radio controlled blimps. For the third project one team of ME students and a combined team of AT and ME students competed. The teams were tasked with the design and manufacture of a full-scale one-person hovercraft. Both teams successfully built a hovercraft, but only the hovercraft of the combined AT/ME team was tested. The ME hovercraft was not tested due to safety concerns. These projects have created considerable interest among faculty members from other departments within the University, some of who have expressed a desire to participate in future projects of the type. Suggestions have also been made that collaborative competitions might be conducted in the future between teams from Purdue University and other universities here and abroad.


Due to the evolution of engineering science research beginning in the 1960s, the emphasis of engineering education became more strongly biased towards the science of engineering, and away from the application of engineering (McMaster & Matsch, 1996; Hayes & Wheelwright, 1984)1 That shift in emphasis coincided with a reduction in engineering curricula that had focused on application related design activities. Prior to that time, undergraduate engineering programs were typically of five-year duration, with 170 or more credit hours. In response to considerations of economy and declining enrollment, universities were forced to reduce credit hours and program length. Courses eliminated during this time typically included the application-based laboratory classes, which, in the short term, allowed engineering to fall in line with the program lengths of other disciplines. Unfortunately, the long-term impact of these decisions was to be largely negative for engineering graduates. Observing this, McMaster and Match said that “Too few of our engineering graduates have an adequate understanding of how “Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Sterkenburg, R., & Lampe, J., & Stanley, D. (2004, June), Collaborative Efforts In Engineering And Technology Education Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12807

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