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Curriculum Revision to Better Integrate Mechanical Engineering Science and Practice in the Second and Third Undergraduate Years

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Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

ME Curriculum and Assessment

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

24.350.1 - 24.350.9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--20241

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/20241

Download Count

112

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Paper Authors

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Michele Miller Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Michele Miller is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. She teaches classes on manufacturing and does research in engineering education with particular interest in hands-on ability, lifelong learning, and project-based learning.

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Jeffrey Allen Michigan Technological University

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Jason Blough Michigan Technological University

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James P. De Clerck Michigan Technological University

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After an 18 year career in the automotive industry, Dr. De Clerck joined the Michigan Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics in August 2009. His areas of expertise include noise and vibration, structural dynamics, design, modal analysis, model validation, inverse methods applied to design, and advanced measurement techniques.

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William J. Endres Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Endres received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992. He has served on the faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for 7 years and at Michigan Technological University since 2001, where he is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of the ME Senior Capstone Design Program. In 1996 he began envisioning a technology company which he ultimately founded as Endres Machining Innovations, LLC (EMI) in 2004 to develop and commercialize innovative processes and tooling technologies. EMI’s industry-leading R&D efforts aim to provide substantial efficiency improvements. EMI’s focus is the machining of difficult-to-machine materials, such as titanium, nickel alloys, stainless steels, compacted-graphite iron (CGI), hardened steel, and abrasive composites, and applications like energy efficient chipping/chopping of cellulosic biomass. In 2013 a manufacturing company was formed for production of their first product line leaving EMI to focus on technology development and commercialization partnerships.

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Scott A. Miers Michigan Technological University

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Ibrahim Miskioglu Michigan Technological University

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Gregory M. Odegard Michigan Technological University

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Charles D. Van Karsen Michigan Technological University

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Paul J. van Susante Michigan Technological University

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Dr. van Susante received a M.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 2001 from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands followed by a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Engineering Systems from the Colorado School of Mines in 2004 and 2011 respectively. He has been teaching undergraduate engineering courses including mechanics of materials and senior capstone design since 2005. He is currently a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department at Michigan Technological University where he is involved with developing the new undergraduate curriculum and course coordinator for the first new ME-Practice course.

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Abstract

Curriculum Revision to Better Integrate Mechanical Engineering Science and Practice in the 2nd and 3rd Undergraduate YearsThe mechanical engineering program at Michigan Tech has been engaged in a curriculumrevision process since 2010. The implementation of the new curriculum will take place overthree years, starting in Fall 2014. The revision recognizes that engineering work, engineeringstudents, and educational methods are changing. The program faculty consideredrecommendations from external entities such as ASME, the National Academy of Engineering,and the Carnegie Foundation. We also investigated innovative curricula at other institutions.The Engineer of 2020 will change job functions more frequently than engineers of the past, andthus the NAE cites practical intuition and agility as desired attributes. A Carnegie Foundationreport finds that “the tradition of putting theory before practice…[allows] little opportunity forstudents to have the kind of deep learning experiences that mirror professional practice.” Basedon analysis of industry needs, two of the seven recommendations of the ASME 2030 task forceare more practice-based engineering education and curricular flexibility. Education researchershave identified a “valley of despair” in the 2nd and 3rd years. Whereas students do project work inthe first and fourth years, in the second and third years, many do not see the connection betweencourse work and engineering work; as a result, both motivation and confidence decrease. Finally,engineering work today relies heavily on computational tools that are now widely available. Thenew tools can create more realistic models of messy real systems. More consistent use of thesetools throughout the curriculum can further strengthen student understanding of the fundamentalsand allow them to address more complex problems. New engineering programs, such as those atOlin College and James Madison University, are taking a different approach to engineeringeducation by challenging lower division students with complex open-ended problems and byinfusing project work throughout the four-year curriculum.The large number of mechanical engineering students at Michigan Tech presents challenges toimplementing more project-based courses, but size has advantages too: well equippedlaboratories, a mature industry sponsored senior design program, and diverse faculty expertise.The new curriculum makes two major changes:1. It introduces four new practice-based courses that replace four lab courses and a 3rd year design processes course. These are project-based courses that integrate a number of content threads in the second and third years: application of core course concepts; programming, modeling, and simulation; instrumentation, measurement, and data acquisition; structured design process; making and tinkering; communication.2. It reduces the number of core courses and increases the number of technical electives.This paper will describe the content of the new courses and the processes used to engage facultyand staff in the development of the curriculum.

Miller, M., & Allen, J., & Blough, J., & De Clerck, J. P., & Endres, W. J., & Miers, S. A., & Miskioglu, I., & Odegard, G. M., & Van Karsen, C. D., & van Susante, P. J. (2014, June), Curriculum Revision to Better Integrate Mechanical Engineering Science and Practice in the Second and Third Undergraduate Years Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20241

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015