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Designing a Comprehensive Project for a Junior-level Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Design I

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Amanda C. Rutherford Montana State University

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Amanda Rutherford is a teaching faculty member at Montana State University. She is the lead curriculum coordinator for the Junior Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Course, which all students in the College of Engineering must take, as well as the faculty director of the MSU Makerspace. Prior to coming to MSU as a faculty member, she earned a BS in Civil Engineering (MSU), MS in Engineering Mechanics (Virginia Tech) and worked as a research engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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Brad Thomas Stanton Montana State University

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Staci Turoski


Elizabeth B Varnes Montana State University Orcid 16x16

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After earning a BSEE from Clemson University, I worked for the Department of Defense for 11 years. During that time I earned a MS in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University. My next assignment was with Scientific Research Corporation, a defense contractor, where I worked until December 2016. In January 2017, I joined Montana State University serving as an instructor and Special Assistant to the Dean of the College of Engineering.

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At Montana State University (MSU), the College of Engineering (COE) has approached the ABET Multidisciplinary teaming outcome through the creation of a three-credit junior level engineering design course required by all students in the COE (a total of 11 disciplines). The primary learning objectives of the three-credit single semester course are threefold: to teach engineering design process through active development and creation of an engineering design, so that students are prepared for capstone courses their senior year; to expose students to multidisciplinary teaming, equipping them with teaming, communication, and leadership skills to succeed within this environment; and to give students basic exposure to a variety of project management and development tools. The three topics are linked together in the context of the development of a single design project. In the summer of 2017, the instructional team undertook to change the design project itself. We identified the students as primary stakeholders and our course learning objectives as constraints. We adopted the following problem statement: Multi-disciplinary engineering design students at MSU need a FUN and engaging project as the material taught in the class is highly relevant to the “real world” they are about to enter, and if they can be more engaged in a project they care about, they will perform better in the class. This paper will detail steps taken toward design of the multidisciplinary engineering design project and examine efficacy of the changes made to the course.

Rutherford, A. C., & Stanton, B. T., & Turoski, S., & Varnes, E. B. (2018, June), Designing a Comprehensive Project for a Junior-level Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30275

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