Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Systems engineering skills are difficult to teach in a university setting. As a result, new graduates may require significant on-the-job-training and experience before they and their employers are confident in their systems engineering skills. For example, NASA developed the Systems Engineering Leadership Development Program (SELDP) to provide “development activities, training, and education” to more quickly cultivate systems engineers. We need better ways of teaching systems engineering, so that systems engineers require less on-the-job training before taking on their roles at their respective engineering companies. A first step in improving systems engineering education is identifying and assessing the strengths and inadequacies in systems engineering education. Here, we propose an approach based on an analysis of the types of errors systems engineers make in practice. In our previous work, we analyzed a large set of systems engineering failures and identified “decision errors” in systems engineering—decisions made before the accident that accident investigators identified as contributing significantly to the accident. We developed eight survey questions based on failures in our dataset, including the Challenger launch decision, the Alaska Airlines flight 261 crash, and the Piper Alpha oilrig fire. We received 47 responses in the Fall 2016 semester and 101 responses in the Spring 2017 semester from undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Purdue’s Aeronautics and Astronautics department. Our initial statistical analysis indicates that there may be a correlation between a student’s performance in and exposure to systems engineering-related classes and the student’s performance on our survey.
Aloisio, D. C., & Marais, K., & Sun, H. (2018, June), Development of a Survey Instrument to Evaluate Student Systems Engineering Ability Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30325
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