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Converging Diverging Approach To Design In The Sophomore Engineering Clinic

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Design

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

11.359.1 - 11.359.11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--318

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/318

Download Count

94

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Paper Authors

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Kevin Dahm Rowan University

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Kevin Dahm is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. He received his Ph.D. from MIT and his B.S. from WPI. Among his areas of interest are computing and process simulation in the curriculum, and integrating economics and design throughout the curriculum. He has received the 2003 Joseph J. Martin Award and the 2002 PIC-III Award from ASEE.

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Dom Acciani Rowan University

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Dom Acciani is a self-employed forensic engineer and an Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering at Rowan University.

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Jennifer Courtney Rowan University

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Jennifer Courtney is an Assistant Professor of Writing Arts at Rowan University. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her interests include gender and communication and information literacy.

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Chenguang Diao Rowan University

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Chenguang Diao obtained his PhD from University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2004, received post-doctoral training in Carnegie Mellon University from 2004 to 2005, and is currently an Assistant Professor at Rowan University.

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Roberta Harvey Rowan University

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Roberta Harvey is an Assistant Professor of Writing Arts at Rowan University and has been teaching writing to engineering students for over ten years and has been a part of Rowan’s Sophomore Clinic team since 1998. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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William Riddell Rowan University

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William T. Riddell is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rowan University. He has previously worked at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Langley Research Center.

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Bernard Pietrucha Rowan University

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Bernie Pietrucha is an Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at Rowan University.

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Paris von Lockette Rowan University

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Paris von Lockette is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1999. His interests include the physics of polymers and numerical computational methods in materials science.

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

CONVERGING-DIVERGING APPROACH TO DESIGN IN THE SOPHOMORE ENGINEERING CLINIC

Abstract The Rowan University Sophomore Engineering Clinic is a two-semester sequence intended to teach engineering design and communication. Historically, the course has been taught with semester-long projects, one in the fall and one in the spring. An example from the fall 2003 and 2004 semesters was the Hoistinator project. Student teams of 4-5 were challenged to build a crane that could lift at least 420 pounds, using no more than 75 cubic inches of aluminum and 50 cubic inches of plastic. Teams would receive a score that was directly proportional to the amount of weight lifted, and inversely proportional to the amount of material used. The project was successful in many respects but there was room for improvement in the students’ overall approach to the design problem. Students were generally successful at using statics to predict their crane’s performance, but the cranes they designed and built were generally not well optimized. Many student teams chose a basic design quickly and after investigating few, if any, alternatives, and in many cases important decisions were made without a quantitative analysis.

For the 2005-06 academic year, the faculty team addressed this shortcoming by providing a converging/diverging model for teaching design. Students are going through a sequence of design problems of increasing complexity: the fall employed a four week project on designing bottle rockets, a 10-week version of the Hoistinator project, to be followed by a full semester design project in the spring. Students in the fall were required to document their approach to these problems in detail, showing specific evidence of divergent design and convergent design and specific rationales for the final decisions resulting from these processes. This paper will explain the convergent-divergent design model, provide a description of the design projects, and present a comparative assessment of the effectiveness of this approach compared to the previous year’s offering of Sophomore Engineering Clinic.

Introduction

The Sophomore Clinic is a four semester-hour course team taught by the College of Communication and the College of Engineering. Typically, the course has approximately 120 students divided into six sections. The faculty team consists of two or three instructors from the College of Communication and five from the College of Engineering, with each of the four Rowan engineering disciplines (Chemical, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical) represented. Students have two 75-minute lecture sessions and one 160-minute laboratory session each week.

During the lecture sections students receive instruction on technical communication, specifically, technical writing in the fall and public speaking in the spring. Each section has one Communications faculty member for the semester, and for these faculty, each section is viewed as a 3-hour course for workload purposes. In the laboratory portion of the course, three sections meet simultaneously. Consequently, for the engineering faculty, there are two lab sessions each week, each consisting of 60-65 students, and five instructors. For workload purposes this is viewed as a 3-hour course for each member of the engineering faculty.

Dahm, K., & Acciani, D., & Courtney, J., & Diao, C., & Harvey, R., & Riddell, W., & Pietrucha, B., & von Lockette, P. (2006, June), Converging Diverging Approach To Design In The Sophomore Engineering Clinic Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--318

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