June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Design in Engineering Education
13.303.1 - 13.303.8
Communication in a project based learning design course
Sophomores in the College of Engineering at Rowan University take a two-semester sequence where they are taught design and communication in a project-based-learning setting. In the fall and spring semesters, communication instruction focuses on technical writing and public speaking, respectively. The fall semester has developed into a highly- integrated technical writing and design course, allowing students to comprehend how writing informs the design process as much as the designing informs the writing. Like writing, public speaking is an essential aspect of engineering practice. However, integrating public speaking and design has proven significantly more challenging than integrating writing and design. Even when public speaking deliverables are directly tied to a design project, students often feel that the presentation is an afterthought. Indeed, in many cases the design is completed (or a significant milestone is reached) before the presentation is prepared. Thus, public speaking is often associated with design, but not as an integral part of designing. In this course, students give several mid-semester presentations as part of an ongoing design project, where they are given feedback by engineering faculty and their peers. As a result of this feedback, many students have come to realize that this form of communication is an important part of design.
The significant changes that accompanied the ABET 2000 document1 reflected the observation by academia and industry that engineering education needed to change to better prepare engineering graduates for the current work environment2,3. One result of these changes is that both design and communication have been given increasingly important treatment in undergraduate engineering curriculum. Project-based courses have been gaining acceptance as a means to introduce design experiences into the curriculum prior to the senior capstone design course4-6. In some cases, communication content has been integrated into engineering content as well7.
Undergraduate students in the College of Engineering at Rowan University take a sequence of eight project based learning courses, called Engineering Clinics8,9. The Engineering Clinics increase in realism throughout the four year experience. The Sophomore Engineering Clinics are specifically charged with teaching design and communication. Formal communication instruction focuses on technical writing and public speaking, in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Sophomore Engineering Clinic I (SEC I) has developed into a highly-integrated technical writing and design course, allowing students to comprehend how writing informs the design process as much as the designing informs the writing10. The design instruction in SEC I is focused on parametric design11,12. In Sophomore Engineering Clinic II (SEC II), student teams are required to frame a serious design project for the first time. In this course, students receive two 75-minute instruction periods per week on public speaking, and one 165- minute instruction/laboratory period per week on design. The public speaking instruction
Riddell, W., & Simone, M., & Farrell, S., & Jansson, P. M. (2008, June), Communication In A Project Based Learning Design Course Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3318
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