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Educational Methods For Design Courses: Functional Dormitories

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Instructional Strategies in AE Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.437.1 - 15.437.12



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Paper Authors


Michael Marsocci

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Mr. Michael Marsocci is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering at Auburn University. He has a Business-Engineering-Technology minor.

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P.K. Raju

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Dr. P. K. Raju is Thomas Walter Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University's College of Engineering. He has published over 160 papers in journals and conference proceedings in the areas of acoustics, noise control, and engineering education. Dr. Raju's research was sponsored by agencies like UNDP, NASA, NSF, DOD and industries like the American Gas Association. Drs. Raju and Sankar lead the Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE) at Auburn University. He is a fellow of ASEE and ASME.

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Chetan Sankar

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Dr. Chetan Sankar is Thomas Walter Professor of Management Information Systems at Auburn University's College of Business. He uses research methodology to develop case studies in MIS, engineering management, and global telecommunications management. He has published more than 100 refereed papers in journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings.

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

Educational Methods for Design Courses: Functional Dormitories Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to describe a student-led international engineering project that is both exciting and educational. The challenge with this project is to reach the proper balance of student-led creativity and learning, collection of data, adequate expert review, and transfer of knowledge to other students. This paper details an international student project that was then documented as a case study. After providing a synopsis of the example case study, a suggested structure for developing such a case study is provided with references to the example. This can help guide a faculty member design such a project in the future. A suggested classroom teaching methodology prescribes a continual check on student knowledge of the problem as they read through the case study to ensure absorption of key concepts, as well as an iterative design process for solving the problem after understanding all aspects of the problem. Case studies such as the one presented below expose students to complex, real world design problems, therefore giving them a chance to apply previously learned information, practice it by integrating their design knowledge into the process, and obtain valuable teamwork skills.


Student-led international engineering projects can be both exciting and educational. The challenge with these projects is to reach the proper balance of student-led creativity and learning, collection of data, adequate expert review, and transfer of knowledge to other students1. First, the collection of data in an international setting can experience logistical barriers due to language issues, inadequate computer infrastructure, and cultural differences regarding work place and style. Additionally, international travel is expensive, and much of the funds go directly toward getting the students to the project location and their maintenance costs. Therefore, collection of sufficient data is essential during the trip. Second, because the students are understandably novices in design, an expert review process is critical for both the success of the project and the reputation of the organization. And finally, given the costs involved in international travel, it is critical for the knowledge gained by the student teams to be relayed to other students so that they can gain the design experience without having to travel themselves.

We found that documenting such an international design project in the form of a case study is particularly useful. In design courses, students are required to create a deliverable from a problem statement with certain constraints and needs. So why not make the problem statement from this design project as in depth as possible, citing a need occurring in the real world? Case studies bring a higher requirement for problem understanding than most textbooks give. Design in the real world requires testing initial site conditions, listening to the end user, and noting the flaws in past projects. Immersion in such an intricate predicament can only be done by careful consideration of each aspect, understanding from prior knowledge, and critical debate to find a solution that meets the needs. This process also provides the students who underwent the

Marsocci, M., & Raju, P., & Sankar, C. (2010, June), Educational Methods For Design Courses: Functional Dormitories Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16682

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015