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Design Experience In A Laboratory Environment

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.142.1 - 1.142.7



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Nagy N. Bengiamin

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

Session 1626

Design Experience in a Laboratory Environment

Nagy N. Bengiamin Electrical Engineering Department University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND

Abstract - This paper addresses enhancing engineering design education via hands-on and open-ended laboratory experience. Design is considered in its broader context of problem solving attributes. A unique laboratory has been developed, in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of North Dakota, using industrial equipment for motion control and energy management. A new senior laboratory course is designed to enhance students’ creativity, problem solving, design, and hands-on skills. Students are presented with equipment, background material, software, and general ideas and concepts. Student teams then determine the scope of their projects and develop their own plan of work. Sample projects are presented.

I. Introduction

Analysis and Synthesis (design) have always been emphasized in engineering education. The old school of thought, however, was biased towards basic science and analytical skills. Furthermore, design in education was approached from its narrow sense of being discipline oriented. This approach seemed to work well in the past when the technological base was limited. Engineers and scientists were actually blending together without much differentiation, and design on the job used to cross discipline boundaries to produce new technologies, The technology revolution and its fast pace brought a new dimension to engineering education, New engineering technology programs at educational institutions are culminating the notion of the increasing dependence between engineering and technology. Today’s engineer must be technology literate. Design is one of the primary vehicles for bringing technologies closer to engineering education. The present school of thought puts design at the heart of engineering education and it broadens its scope to include skills which tie knowledge, behavior, and intellectual abilities. Engineering iimdamentals and theoretical and analytical concepts seem to sink in better when linked to applications and engineering design methodologies. The challenge is to emphasize design without compromising basic principles.

“The crux of the design process is in creating a satisfactory solution to a need it is what engineering is all about” [1]. Design is perceived to be “creative problem solving” which requires both creative and critical thinking skills. Conwell, et. al. [1], considered those two skills to be synergistic. The development of one skill aids in the development of the other. Developing these skills requires creative approaches to: (1) Increase student motivation; (2) Improve pedagogy and educational effectiveness; and (3) Better match EE educational content and teaching technology to the needs of the changing EE profession [2]. Crossing discipline boundaries is recognized by many educators for its effectiveness in facilitating creative and critical thinking education [3].

While experimental work and hands-on experiences increase student confidence and reinforce their sense of accomplishment, designing a meaningful laboratory exercise that enhances creative and critical thinking is

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Bengiamin, N. N. (1996, June), Design Experience In A Laboratory Environment Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5965

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