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Coordination Of Senior Design Teams Using Internet Technology: A Case Study

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Integrating Design into the BME Curriculum

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Page Count


Page Numbers

14.370.1 - 14.370.10

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Paper Authors


Blair Rowley Wright State University

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BLAIR A. ROWLEY is a Professor of Biomedical, Industrial, and Human Factors Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, a Professor of Geriatrics in the Boonshoft School of Medicine, and Director of the Freshman Engineering and Computer Science Program at Wright State University. He holds the Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, Columbia and is a PE. He has been in academia since 1970. Among his many activities he served as the chair of the ASEE/BMD 1987-1988 and was founding chair of the Council of Chairs in Bio/Biomedical Engineering. His research focuses on rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology, and education.

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

Coordination of Senior Design Teams Using Internet Technology – A Case Study


This fall a new approach was undertaken in our senior design course that uses tools available on the internet to gave the students means for improved communications between members within a team. Being reported on is the use of student laptop computers in the class room coupled with a number of internet resources for communication, shared documents, a free 3d CAD program, and a team structure the students bought into and work within. These changes provided the team members methods to rapidly share ideas, contribute to reports, check on each other’s progress, and receive feedback from the course instructor. The individual teams were allowed to choose which communication resources they wanted to use. Their choices and reactions to them are provided. The perceptions of the student teams to this new experience are also provided in the conclusions.


At the start of our three quarter biomedical engineering senior design course we teach a prescribing approach to design. The students learn design using a seven step method involving the client, problem definition, conceptual design, preliminary design, detailed design, design communication and final design documentation. There are numerous instruments involved with each step to assure that the final design has been optimized, meets the client’s needs, and is well documented. At the end of the first quarter small teams are formed and a project is assigned to each team. These projects are all different and by the end of the third quarter a product is produced.

During the first quarter the class also forms teams of four or more and each team undertakes the same design project. They then use the methods being taught on their design. It has been observed that while the students learned the principles, they were frustrated with the experience. Usually one or two on a team would take the lead and the others coasted. A major problem was getting team members to coordinate tasks and communicate among themselves. Things that got in the way were different class and work schedules, intramural sports, physical location off campus, and energy levels.

Rowley, B. (2009, June), Coordination Of Senior Design Teams Using Internet Technology: A Case Study Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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