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Distributed Design In The Electrical Engineering Department At The University Of Wisconsin Platteville

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.470.1 - 9.470.10



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Paper Authors

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Mesut Muslu

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


Mesut Muslu Electrical Engineering Department University of Wisconsin – Platteville


A variety of processes and methods exist to teach engineering design in universities today. Although some programs introduce simple design projects in freshman year, many programs provide design experience through a few concentrated courses in junior or senior year. Many students report that design methods are typically taught in high-level courses and in a compartmentalized fashion. In such cases, design is viewed as another hurdle to overcome rather than an important engineering process. This paper describes how the Electrical Engineering program at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville developed a curriculum to address this issue by implementing a distributed design in its curriculum. The idea behind the distributed design is to introduce simple design concepts early in the curriculum and gradually increase the complexity of design projects as students progress toward graduation. The paper provides examples of several design projects in various courses and how these projects are interrelated. The paper also provides a discussion of how the “major design experience” requirement of ABET is satisfied without having a capstone design course in the curriculum.


A wide variety of methods for teaching engineering design are in use today. A number of universities have begun introducing design problems into lower level undergraduate courses.1,2,3 Miller at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a number of small, hour long, design-like exercises that aim to give sophomore engineering students a feel for some of the engineering concepts. Other approaches to using design early in the curriculum include the Tip-A-Can project at Rochester Institute of Technology,4 and MIT’s Lighter-Than-Air project in a first year aerospace engineering course.5

One approach that is popular with educators is incorporating “hands-on” projects into engineering courses.5,6,7 These “hands-on” projects are used to teach design concepts as well as provide more realistic problems to students. Another popular approach is mechanical dissection.8,9 The basic philosophy in dissection is to provide a fun experience to students, to

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright@2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Muslu, M. (2004, June), Distributed Design In The Electrical Engineering Department At The University Of Wisconsin Platteville Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13190

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