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Developing Higher Order Problem Solving Skills Through Problem Based Learning (Pbl) In A Manufacturing Process Engineering Course

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Pedagogical Issues in Manufacturing Education

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.498.1 - 12.498.8



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Paper Authors


Danny Bee University of Wisconsin-Stout

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DANNY J. BEE is an Assistant Professor of Manufacturing Engineering since 1995 and the former Program Director for Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.S. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has design/manufacturing experience in the aerospace and computer industries. In addition, he worked as a Quality Specialist in the Janesville/Beloit, WI region at Blackhawk Technical College. He is currently a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University, developing research in the area of environmentally responsible design and manufacturing.

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

Developing Higher Order Problem Solving Skills through Problem-based Learning (PBL) in a Manufacturing Process Engineering Course


A program revision to the Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout created a series of new courses titled “Manufacturing Process Engineering I and II.” This provided an ideal subject matter to implement a problem-based learning (PBL) approach for in-depth manufacturing process engineering topics. During the Fall 2006 semester, the junior level Manufacturing Process Engineering I (MFGE-351) course was taught utilizing a facilitated problem-based learning methodology. The early results from this change in teaching method indicates that 1) students greatly appreciate the opportunity to apply theoretical content of an engineering science course to real world problems and situations they will face, 2) students researched the problems to a greater depth than in a typical lecture/lab based class, and 3) the level of enthusiasm for learning the engineering science topics is greatly increased. To properly assess learning achievement in a PBL curriculum, genuine situational assessments will be implemented along with the change in instructional technique. This paper describes the PBL approach and assessment methods used in this new course and summarizes student perceptions of their experience with the PBL methodology within the course. In addition, both the instructor and student perceptions of the shift from lecture-based to a facilitative instructional method will be discussed.

Course Overview

The first offering of the Manufacturing Process Engineering I course was Fall 2005. This offering was taught in a traditional lecture based manner. The latest offering of the course in Fall 2006, utilized a problem-based learning approach. It is important to understand each of the two methods of teaching the course.

Previous Offering

In the Fall of 2005, the first time offering of the Manufacturing Process Engineering I course was taught in a traditional lecture based manner. The course included the application of finite element analysis (FEA) utilizing Microsoft Excel. Individual modeling assignments took extensive amounts of time and were applied to the modeling of chip-tool interface temperatures in a machining operation and modeling the forces and pressures in metal forming processes such as forging and rolling.1 In addition, multiple text book assignments were utilized, a 3-D solid modeling project was created, one published research issue was researched and documented, and an open-ended team project was performed.

The individual modeling assignments were time intensive due to the need to elevate each student’s knowledge of and use of MS Excel for FEA modeling. Even though the students were juniors in the manufacturing engineering curriculum and all were part of the university-wide laptop lease program, their understanding and knowledge of Excel was not high enough to simply turn the students loose with it after brief demonstrations on how to do the modeling.

Bee, D. (2007, June), Developing Higher Order Problem Solving Skills Through Problem Based Learning (Pbl) In A Manufacturing Process Engineering Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2926

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