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Comparing Different Teaching Models In A First Year Computer Aided Design Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Teaching Strategies in Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.326.1 - 10.326.11



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Paper Authors

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Douglas Baxter

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Comparing Different Teaching Models in a First Year Computer Aided Design Course Douglas H. Baxter Director CAD/CAM/CAE

Andrew Mandigo Lead Teaching Assistant Engineering Graphics and Computer Aided Design Course

School of Engineering Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


All engineering students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are required to take a one- credit course in solid modeling. This course, Engineering Graphics and Computer Aided Design (EG&CAD) teaches the skills of using a solid modeling system to create parts, small assemblies, and documentation. More importantly, EG&CAD also emphasizes the use of vectors in creating solid models and thereby provides students reinforcement of their linear algebra knowledge. The students normally take EG&CAD during their first year and then have the opportunity to use solid modeling in their sophomore and senior design projects as well as some special topic electives. In addition, several other courses are now using solid models as a way to demonstrate fundamental principles2. With an increasing dependence on solid modeling skills required, it is imperative that the course content in EG&CAD be effectively delivered and evaluated.

EG&CAD runs twelve to twenty sections each semester; concerns about equality of instruction and evaluation between the sections always existed. Over the last ten years, several methods of instruction and teaching material have been developed to help ensure the uniformity of the learning experience for the students[4][5][6][8]. Given the large size of the course, care has always been taken in introducing new teaching methods. Normally, a new method or new material is introduced in the Spring semester with the course coordinator as the instructor. If successful, a second trial is held during the summer sessions as the summer sessions will introduce the software version used for the next academic year. Given that both trials are successful, all sections of EG&CAD will be introduced to the new material in the Fall and Spring semesters. This method has proven successful for the past several years.

The latest change to EG&CAD involves changing the manner in which the course final project is handled. In EG&CAD, a final assembly is given to the students to build and document. The assembly normally has 30 to 40 individual parts. Many of these parts are

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Baxter, D. (2005, June), Comparing Different Teaching Models In A First Year Computer Aided Design Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15173

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