March 25, 2018
March 25, 2018
March 27, 2018
First year engineering courses are shared at many schools complicating first-year design courses. This paper addresses the issues of incorporating multiple engineering majors into a first-year design course while teaching a design process that is applicable to all majors.
The project in this course is a sorting task that requires teams to compete against each other by taking objects from the middle of the arena to their end and sort them according to their characteristics. Students complete the task using three distinct units. The acquisition unit removes the objects from the starting bin and transfers the objects to the transportation unit. The transportation unit transports the objects to the team’s end of the arena and transfers them to the sorting unit. The sorting unit sorts the objects according to their characteristics (size, shape, and material) and deposits them into the final bins. The team score is based on both the quantity and the purity of the objects sorted.
The design process used in this class is based on the materials published by Alexander Slocum on MIT Open Courseware. The process is to develop an overall strategy to accomplish the task before breaking it down into concepts, modules, and finally components. Students start by developing and discussing at least three different ideas for strategies. Next, they choose a strategy and come up with three different concepts to execute the strategy. Finally, the students divide concept into modules and create three different designs for each module. This layered approach requires the students to slow down and evaluate their options rather than building the first design they think of which has little focus on design. A series of milestones are used as assessments to walk the students through the design process as well as design iterations throughout the semester.
The project attempts to cover all of the engineering fields at a rudimentary level. The sorting unit has a structure that often moves, is programmed, utilizes an EMG input, uses a blower, and separates objects by their characteristics to support civil, mechanical, software, biomedical, and chemical engineering. The transportation unit typically includes a drive train, a structure, and requires soldering to support mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering. The acquisition unit again includes a structure that moves and is programed supporting civil, mechanical, and software engineering. The entire project involves systems and project management to support industrial and systems engineering and construction management.
Students (n = 56) took a survey using a Likert scale to assess if they learned about the design process and about various engineering degrees. Students indicated that they learned the design process (4.2) but had a less positive response about the the different majors (3.5). Students indicated that the least understood majors were chemical engineering (2.4) and biomedical engineering (2.9).
This course is constructed to have students learn a thorough design process while exposing them to the different engineering disciplines. This will help lay a strong foundation for future design projects as well as aiding students in deciding which engineering discipline they should pursue.
Gordon, M. T., & Chun, S., & Zhao, X. S., & Nalbandian, M. J., & Han, M. K., & Oyanader, M. (2018, March), Design Course for First-Year Students in Multiple Engineering Disciplines Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Zone IV Conference, Boulder, Colorado. https://peer.asee.org/29605
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