Charlotte, North Carolina
June 20, 1999
June 20, 1999
June 23, 1999
4.134.1 - 4.134.7
COMPETITIONS AS A VEHICLE FOR TEACHING ENGINEERING DESIGN
Wils L. Cooley, Parviz Famouri, Heather D. Collier, Brian Inman West Virginia University
The Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at WVU has had an engineering Senior Design Project sequence for nearly 25 years. During the 1997-98 sequence, one undergraduate student design team participated in an IEEE regional design competition. The team members chose their project specifically with the intention of entering their design in this regional competition, in contrast to selecting it from a traditionally compiled list of non- competitive design projects.
This paper describes the experiences of members of the design team as well as the faculty directly involved with the project and the design project sequence. We discuss the use of a competition as a vehicle for teaching design as having several inherent advantages over having each team work on a completely distinct project. Advantages include the possibility of comparatively and objectively evaluating the design ability of each team, and the extremely valuable reflective learning which takes place as the teams discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various designs seen at the competition. We also discuss the disadvantages to such an approach, which may be severe enough to preclude its use.
We conclude that overall, the use of competition as an approach to teaching design is an excellent experience for those involved, in that it gives students experience with teamwork and introduces them to practical problem solving situations. It also seems to bring out their best technically. We conclude further that the use of design competitions for course projects should be encouraged, but that it should not be the only available option, based on some of the weaknesses discussed.
IEEE Region 2 has had a Student Paper Contest for many years. In 1996, Dr. Famouri, the new IEEE Region 2 Student Activity Chair elected to develop a student design competition similar to design competitions in other IEEE regions. Such contests likely began at MIT with the 1 2 development of the Micromouse contest in 1979 . Design competitions remain popular at MIT , 3,4 and have spread around the world . West Virginia University volunteered to host the competition for the first year in conjunction with the paper contest, which was held in Morgantown on April 8 and 9, 1998. It will be held at Penn State Erie in 1999. Student members of IEEE at WVU agreed to design the contest, build the contest playing field, and to design a robot to compete in the contest but not be eligible for a prize. Teams from Cedarville College,
Famouri, P., & Collier, H., & Inman, B., & Cooley, W. L. (1999, June), Competitions As A Vehicle For Teaching Engineering Design Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. https://peer.asee.org/8108
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