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Development of Student Competencies Overtime in an Authentic Immersive Design Experience

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Design Throughout the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.537.1 - 26.537.15



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Paper Authors


Zahed Siddique University of Oklahoma

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Zahed Siddique is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering of University of Oklahoma. His research interest include product family design, advanced material and engineering education. He is interested in motivation of engineering students, peer-to-peer learning, flat learning environments, technology assisted engineering education and experiential learning. He is the coordinator of the industry sponsored capstone from at his school and is the advisor of OU's FSAE team.

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Farrokh Mistree University of Oklahoman

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Farrokh’s passion is to have fun in providing an opportunity for highly motivated and talented people to learn how to define and achieve their dreams.

Farrokh Mistree holds the L. A. Comp Chair in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. Prior to this position, he was the Associate Chair of the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech – Savannah. He was also the Founding Director of the Systems Realization Laboratory at Georgia Tech.

Farrokh’s current research focus is model-based realization of complex systems by managing uncertainty and complexity. The key question he is investigating is what are the principles underlying rapid and robust concept exploration when the analysis models are incomplete and possibly inaccurate? His quest for answers to the key question are anchored in three projects, namely,

Integrated Realization of Robust, Resilient and Flexible Networks

Integrated Realization of Engineered Materials and Products

Managing Organized and Disorganized Complexity: Exploration of the Solution Space

His current education focus is on creating and implementing, in partnership with industry, a curriculum for educating strategic engineers—those who have developed the competencies to create value through the realization of complex engineered systems.


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Lucas Balmer University of Oklahoma

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Lucas Balmer is a second year master’s student at the University of Oklahoma studying mechanical engineering. He has been working as a graduate teaching assistant for three semesters in design orientated courses. With this experience he is working on his thesis titled "A Framework for Designing Courses that Support Design Thinking." After graduation Lucas plans to work in the automotive industry.

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Warren F. Smith UNSW, Canberra, Australia

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Dr Warren Smith is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Information Technology, University of NSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. He joined UNSW in 1998 and has teaching responsibilities in Mechanical Engineering Design and Naval Architecture.

Prior to joining UNSW, he spent 20 years as a Naval Architect with the Australian Department of Defence (Navy). He holds a BE (Naval Architecture), a MS (Mechanical Engineering) and a PhD (Operations Research).

Dr Smith’s technical research interests span systems design and design optimisation in the domains of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture. He is also very interested in Engineering Design Education. Dr Smith is passionate about authentic, immersive and project-based learning in the context of engineering design education, being strongly of the opinion that design is learnt through doing.

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Orchestrating an Authentic Immersive Learning Experience Through ScaffoldingBackground Most undergraduate courses that a student takes will have problems that are welldefined, with the dimensions, materials, forces, etc., being specified. In the world of practice ourstudents will encounter problems that are ill-structured. Hence, we strive to provide anopportunity for students to learn how to internalize the principles of design and to developcompetencies to tackle ill-structured problems through an authentic, immersive experience thatinvolves designing, building and testing a mechanism.Purpose In our study we focus on student learning. The question we address is, what are thesalient features of a course that facilitate the learning of new competencies for students tosucceed in their careers?Method In AME4163 Principles of Design we orchestrate learning through an authenticimmersive learning experience. This includes recognizing students as junior engineers in acompany empowered to learn through doing. The ill-structured problem takes the form of adesign, build and test project. Salient features of the course include: self-formed teams,scaffolded assignments that are anchored in experiential learning. After each assignment thestudents are surveyed to ascertain their progress in developing competencies. At the end of eachassignment students are required to submit their individual and team learning statements. At theend of the semester each student is required to analyze and synthesize their past learnings tocreate a two page semester learning essay.Results By analyzing the information gleaned from the surveys and the semester learning essayswe will ascertain whether or not the value of scaffolding provided in each assignment and thelectures aided with respect to the internalization of the principles of design and the developmentof competencies.Conclusions This is a work in progress. We expect to be able to draw the followingconclusions.  Scaffolding and being treated as junior engineers shows to have a positive impact on a student’s ability to internalize principles of design.  By working on an ill-structured problem the students recognized the need to develop new competencies and used new competencies to internalize the principles of design.  The students see the relevance of the material and how they can build on it in their careers as engineers.Keywords scaffold; survey validation; design; learning statements

Siddique, Z., & Mistree, F., & Balmer, L., & Smith, W. F. (2015, June), Development of Student Competencies Overtime in an Authentic Immersive Design Experience Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23876

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