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Evaluation Of An Industry Project In A Freshman Course

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.285.1 - 5.285.9

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Paper Authors

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Jody A. Knoll

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Jan T. Lugowski

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Nancy L. Denton

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

Session 2647

Evaluation of an Industry Project in a Freshman Course

Nancy L. Denton, Jan Lugowski, Jody Knoll Purdue University/Sun Microstamping


A unique opportunity for mechanical engineering technology students to create engineering drawings for an existing product for a manufacturer arose in spring of 1999. In keeping with the engineering technology philosophy that students learn more through practical application of knowledge, the documentation project was undertaken.1, 2

The paper describes the content of a freshman-level design documentation course and the industry documentation project. Implications of incorporating a relatively comprehensive project into the existing course syllabus are discussed. An evaluation of the project’s benefits and costs to student learning follows, together with suggestions for future improvements.

I. Background

The Mechanical Engineering Technology Department at Purdue University requires two courses in engineering documentation. The first course introduces fundamental visualization skills, drawing practices, and use of a two-dimensional and three-dimensional CAD software package. The second course, the focus of this paper, helps the student to understand and properly communicate specifications needed to produce a given part or assembly. Course topics, as listed in Table 1, cover critical design aspects such as calculation of fits and application of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. Technical documentation and design support skills are developed to the extent that a successful student can produce or supervise the production of all documentation needed to manufacture a mechanical product upon completion of the course.

Course assignments consist of a number of small practice exercises and eleven projects. Traditionally, the projects have been independent entities, with the exception of a mechanical assembly package that undergoes two modification stages.

In December 1998, an Indiana company contacted the MET Department Head in search of students to develop the detail/assembly documentation for an existing, functional product. Photographs of the product suggested that the documentation project’s scope might be realistic for completion within a one-semester three-credit course. The company was willing to work within the constraints of a standard semester timeframe. Course faculty agreed to undertake developing full design documentation for a cart-tipper as a student project integral to the second

Knoll, J. A., & Lugowski, J. T., & Denton, N. L. (2000, June), Evaluation Of An Industry Project In A Freshman Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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