June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.351.1 - 15.351.12
Presently, the operation of the mechanical engineering program at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand is under a number of constraints. Firstly, the curriculum has to comply with all requirements and desired outcomes from the governing bodies, both academic and professional. These regulations have profound impacts on the flexibility of the program structure due to the different emphases on contents and outcomes. In addition, the 2008 Chulalongkorn University Act transformed the status of the university from a public university into an autonomous university. The loss of fiscal security and benefits also brought further challenges. Moreover, the competition for students from local institutions and globalization present new threats, challenges and opportunities that a program has to accept and adapt . Thus, it is clear that the methods of teaching and learning must be radically changed in order to ensure the success of the program.
This paper describes an experience in implementing design as the integrative experience of an engineering program via a capstone design course: 2103-499 Mechanical Engineering Project. Prior to this work, the learning experience and assessment in this course was entirely under discretion of faculty members. Project topics included design, programming, industry-related academic services. Even for projects involving design, students, in many cases, never went beyond conceptual design and analyses, hence, missing the integrative experience that this capstone course was supposed to deliver. With the new framework in which design become the priority, the restructuring process was launched in 2006, by Associate Professor Thitima Jintanawan with the authors as members of the administrative committee.
II. Design as an Integrative Experience in an Engineering Program
According to ABET, the operation of a program can be viewed as a two-loop process (Figure 1). A program delivers program outcomes by instilling knowledge and skills to students. When students graduated and go to workplaces, the program monitors and tries to ensure that competencies, described by program educational objectives, are developed during the work experience . At present, the department has moved along a continuous change towards meeting the challenge of completing the program operation in Figure 1. In addition, the program itself is in the process of curriculum revision. The 2103-499 takes this opportunity to close the big loop with the immediate goal of commencing the processes that are deemed lacking, which are denoted by stars in Figure 1.
The two-loop process described in Figure 1 is very general. In terms of design issues in engineering education, however, ABET seems to be much more specific. While ABET is certainly aware of the less-than-major contribution of design in engineering profession [3-6], it picked design as an ultimate goal of engineering education. Very much in the same direction, JABEE stated that “Engineering design cannot be learned simply through class instruction in a few subject courses. In other words, engineering design integrates all aspects of engineering education .” The authors, as members of the administrative committee in charge, took up this challenge by initiating and implementing the new framework for the 2103-499. This senior project course has been restructured to provide the design experience as an integrative event of an engineering program.
Sripakagorn, A., & Maneeratana, K. (2010, June), Design As The Priority In Engineering Education: An Implementation In A Senior Project Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16369
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