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Design Based Instruction In Engineering And Abet 2000 Criteria

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.332.1 - 6.332.12

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Shirley Fleischmann

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

Session 2625

“Design-Based” Instruction in Engineering and ABET 2000 Criteria

Dr. Shirley T. Fleischmann Seymour and Esther Padnos School of Engineering, Grand Valley State University


What is “design-based” instruction? Engineering design is often presented as a number of steps beginning with a problem statement and ending with the validation of a design. The author presents a 5 step iterative scheme for the design process that serves as a framework for design-based instruction. Successful design also involves the use of three types of literacy: conceptual literacy (knowledge of theory and concepts), mechanical literacy (knowledge of tools, machines, and components), and cultural literacy (knowledge of how to communicate and how to properly place a design into a social framework). Design-based instruction includes aspects of all 5 steps in design and also includes the supporting types of literacy for those steps. A planning matrix that enables the instructor to plan the mix and balance of design steps and types of literacy is presented. This approach can also be used to clearly document how ABET 2000 criteria are met in a given project or course presentation. Specific projects used by the author are presented to illustrate the planning matrix and also the ABET 2000 documentation.


Imagine having a major design project that is so popular that students enter your classroom on the first day and ask when they will be able to begin the project. Imagine having to hold students back a little so that they can fully appreciate the lessons of today in preparation for the tomorrow they are eager to reach. An impossible dream? Not at all! The understanding and development of the “design based” approach described in this paper came as a result of my search for an approach that would more clearly meet the needs of my students and that would also better reflect current engineering practice. In retrospect this approach also fits the requirements of ABET 2000 remarkably well.

The formal approach described in this paper was developed after a very successful experience with a project titled The Wooden Shoe Regatta – a design, build, test, and race project involving a 1/12 scale model sailboat. And in the beginning, the boat project was developed as an almost desperate measure….

We had an excellent textbook. At the United States Naval Academy we had far better laboratory equipment than most undergraduate schools. Lab handouts were prepared for all of the lab exercises and the exercises were related to the classroom presentation…but there was no real excitement, no sense that this new knowledge was meaningful to the students. There was no sense that the student was being transformed by the academic

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Fleischmann, S. (2001, June), Design Based Instruction In Engineering And Abet 2000 Criteria Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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