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Engineering and Technology Literacy Introduced in Cornerstone Design Courses

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30403

Download Count

19

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Paper Authors

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Richard Wayne Freeman P.E. U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Prof Richard Freeman is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the United States Coast Guard Academy. He is the course coordinator for Engineering Experimentation and part of a team of faculty incorporating CyberPhysical Systems into several Mechanical Engineering courses. Prof Freeman has previously taught at Northwestern University, Valparaiso University and Iowa State University. While at Northwestern University, Prof Freeman was part of a new First Year Advising team that advised new students and taught two cornerstone design courses entitled Design, Thinking and Communication. Prof Freeman can be reached at richard.w.freeman@uscga.edu.

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biography

J. Alex Birdwell Northwestern University

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J. Alex Birdwell is an assistant professor of instruction with the Undergraduate Engineering Office and the Mechanical Engineering department at Northwestern University. His research was conducted at the intersection of robotics and biomechanics in the field of human-machine interactions, and explored novel ways to control robotic prosthetic hands. He is very passionate about student education and currently teaches five separate courses at the undergraduate level that include manufacturing, design, experimental methods, and thermodynamics. He greatly enjoys advising all levels of undergraduate and early graduate students. He is the producer for the Lightboard studio, and is currently exploring models for effective online and hybrid teaching models.

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Emma Tevaarwerk Northwestern University

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Dr. Tevaarwerk DeCosta works as a dedicated first year adviser at the McCormick School of Engineering, where she advises incoming first year students and teaches courses in freshmen design and materials science.

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Ken Gentry Northwestern University

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Ken Gentry is a Senior Lecturer and Adviser working mainly with first-year students. He teaches cornerstone design and courses in the biomedical engineering department.

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Ordel Brown Northwestern University

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Dr. Ordel Brown is an instructional assistant professor in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, where she currently teaches first-year engineering design. Her research interests in engineering education include the identification of variables that impact the early undergraduate engineering experience and the development of strategies to enhance it, curriculum development and service-learning in engineering.

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Abstract

Engineering and Technology Literacy Introduced in Cornerstone Design Courses

Many first-year engineering students do not have an understanding of the profession or the engineering design process. Their vision of what it means to be an engineer and the engineering design process can sometimes be summed up as brainstorm-build. Many are also unaware of the cyclical process of design-build-test. Most students have also never worked with clients or users. While many students have worked in teams, they have not mastered teamwork, and so they tend to find themselves dividing up the assigned work and trying to put it all together just before deadlines and due dates.

Nearly twenty years ago, our university changed the first-year engineering curriculum to include a cornerstone design course. It was an opportunity to expose students to the design process prior to their capstone experience. Over the years, the one course grew to two courses- spreading components of the design process over two terms, and giving the students more responsibility in the second term.

The courses has a 50-minute lecture and two 80-minute studio sessions weekly. Students register for the lecture time and a studio section. The studio sections consist of up to 16 students and includes two instructors: one engineering and one communication faculty. Additionally, students form groups of four and are paired with an external client who poses the problem statement. For the first course, there is one project per studio section. For the second course, the majority of the sections have up to four projects- one for each four-student team.

These two cornerstone design courses are designed to help students develop basic engineering and technology literacy through human-centered design, extensive primary and secondary research, and the testing of the team’s ideas building physical mock-ups and assessing them internally and with the client and users. The goal of these courses is to instill empathy in the students through using the user-centered design approach to solve real-world problems by utilizing technology and their engineering skills to develop a design that will improve the daily lives of their clients and users.

This work-in-progress paper will discuss the activities that help students start to develop engineering and technology literacy.

Freeman, R. W., & Birdwell, J. A., & Tevaarwerk, E., & Gentry, K., & Brown, O. (2018, June), Engineering and Technology Literacy Introduced in Cornerstone Design Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30403

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