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Engineering Design Activity to Develop Strategy to Evaluate Interdisciplinary Design Skills

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Learning, Evaluation, and Assessment

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.502.1 - 23.502.20



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Paper Authors


Matthew E. McFarland University of Virginia

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Matthew McFarland is a 2nd year Master of Science student in the department of Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Virginia. He graduated from North Carolina State University in December of 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. This is his second year working in the research field of Engineering Education.

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Reid Bailey University of Virginia

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Reid Bailey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Virginia. Previously, he has held faculty positions centered on engineering design at the University of Arizona and the University of Dayton. He received his MSME and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1997 and 2000 and his BSE in mechanical engineering from Duke University in 1995.

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Engineering Design Activity to Develop Strategy to EvaluateInterdisciplinary Design SkillsDuring the spring semester of 2012, a pilot study was conducted at the SunapeeState University to assess the impact of an interdisciplinary program institutedwithin the College of Engineering. The program curriculum focuses ondeveloping a student’s knowledge and skills that address both component leveldesign and systems integration. The purpose of this study was to develop astrategy to evaluate interdisciplinary design skills. This paper focuses on resultsfrom a pilot study in which researchers videotaped students performing a designtask to develop an approach to code and analyze the video data.This interdisciplinary program, the Collaborative Engineering Program, is a crosscollaboration between the Electrical and Computer Engineering and SystemsEngineering departments. The three year curriculum fosters a learningenvironment in which electrical, computer and systems engineering studentscollaborate to engage in engineering design, build and testing. At the end of thecurriculum, fourth year systems engineering graduates will have the ability towork on technology-oriented projects while electrical and computer engineeringgraduates with have the ability to integrate their domain-specific designs intolarger systems.There were a total of 23 fourth year students majoring in electrical, computer, orsystems engineering. Out of the 23 students, 11 were enrolled in the CollaborativeEngineering Program. The pilot study consisted of an activity where students inteams of four participated in an electrical-computer-systems engineeringintegration focused project. Each team was composed of two systems engineeringstudents and two students of either electrical or computer engineering majors. Inaddition, each team was also composed of a combination of students enrolled ornot enrolled in the Collaborative Engineering Program. Students were presentedwith a client based challenge, given specific solution requirements, and asked tobuild a prototype within a three hour timeframe that met the client needs.Following the model of Verbal Protocol Analysis, students were encouraged totalk aloud throughout the study for the researcher to observe the reasoning behindthought process and decision making actions.Results from this pilot study will include a coding scheme for analyzing the videodata as it relates to interdisciplinary collaboration and the application of thiscoding scheme to all groups in the pilot study.

McFarland, M. E., & Bailey, R. (2013, June), Engineering Design Activity to Develop Strategy to Evaluate Interdisciplinary Design Skills Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19516

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