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Engineering Design Days: Engaging Students with Authentic Problem-Solving in an Academic Hackathon

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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

Maker Communities and Authentic Problem Solving

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

23

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30407

Download Count

43

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Paper Authors

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Christopher Rennick University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1682-3311

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Mr. Christopher Rennick received his B.A.Sc., Honours Electrical Engineering in 2007 and his M.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering in 2009, both from the University of Windsor, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Chris is currently a PhD student in Management Sciences at the University of Waterloo.
Since 2010, he has been employed with the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada as teaching staff.

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Carol Hulls P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Dr. Carol Hulls, P.Eng. is a Continuing Lecturer in the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo. She has been teaching courses in programming and digital logic since 1999. Always looking to improve classroom learning, she has tried a variety of techniques including Tablet teaching, flipped classrooms, and experiential learning. She received her BASc, MASc, and PhD from the University of Waterloo in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In 2016 she received the Brightspace Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning.

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Derek Wright P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Derek is a full-time faculty member in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He runs the department's Graduate Attributes program to meet the CEAB accreditation requirements. He also researches in the areas of digital ICs, medical imaging physics, and modeling and simulation of microfluidics. He has a business background and is interested in productization and commercialization efforts related to his research and to student initiatives.

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Andrew J. B. Milne University of Waterloo, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

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Eugene Li University of Waterloo

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Eugene Li finished his M.A.Sc in Electrical Enginnering from the University of Waterloo in the field of Nonlinear Control Systems. Eugene's background is in the field of robotics and is currently a Lab Instructor for the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering in support of the Mechatronics Engineering program

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Sanjeev Bedi P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Dr. Sanjeev Bedi is the Director of the Engineering Ideas Clinic. He earned his PhD from the University of Victoria in 1987. As a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, his research focus is machining, and he is well known for developing innovative 5-axis tool-positioning and flank-milling techniques.

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Abstract

This paper describes an evidence-based practice of using a hackathon model to address student learning outcomes in first year Engineering programs. There is a growing body of work around the use of hackathons to promote engagement, innovation, teamwork, and problem-solving in engineers before, during, and after their undergraduate studies. Existing hackathons tend to be open, extra-curricular events with a focus on software design and UX/UI design. While some hackathons have a theme to steer students towards a problem space defined by the organizers, there is an absence of literature regarding the use of hackathons in-class to support course-level learning objectives. This paper describes one model for an in-class, curricular hackathon which has (of this writing) been deployed in four different undergraduate programs (Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, and Mechatronics Engineering) on five separate occasions, with another two upcoming offerings. This model, which we have named Engineering Design Days, has been implemented in slightly different ways to engage the various cohorts of students and investigate best practices for student engagement. In general, each instance is two days with no traditional classes, labs, or tutorials, where the students work in teams to design and build solutions to open-ended problems. These problems are designed to integrate knowledge from across multiple courses in which the students are enrolled. The implementations described in this paper had students solve design problems by building physical systems using off-the-shelf components. The solutions were presented and tested in front of their peers at the end of the second day. Students and course instructors from each implementation described in this paper provided feedback through surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The results so far have been overwhelmingly positive from both students and instructors, with the adoption of this concept expanding across the Faculty of Engineering. Within this paper, lessons-learned will be discussed (including from an early iteration of this idea), as will strategies for ensuring the sustainability of Engineering Design Days moving forward.

Rennick, C., & Hulls, C., & Wright, D., & Milne, A. J. B., & Li, E., & Bedi, S. (2018, June), Engineering Design Days: Engaging Students with Authentic Problem-Solving in an Academic Hackathon Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30407

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