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Evolutionary Design Paradigm As A Retention Tool

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.600.1 - 10.600.8



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Paper Authors

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Peter Orono

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Stephen Ekwaro-Osire

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


Peter O. Orono, Stephen Ekwaro-Osire

Freshman Engineering, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis / Mechanical Engineering, Texas Tech University


This paper shows that an evolutionary design paradigm in engineering design education will contribute to freshman engineering design education and consequently to student retention. Evolutionary design represents a tool to contribute to student retention because it addresses student interest, it involves teamwork, it demystifies the design process, and additionally it acknowledges the demands of industry. Evolutionary product design, instead of designing a product from scratch, is often used to improve the product and better fulfill the customers’ expectations, while reducing the development time and cost. On the freshman level, it is advisable to focus on the first area, information recovery. As one phase of evolutionary design, reverse engineering lends itself to this end. In this paper, the example of a two-cycle gas weed trimmer subjected to reverse engineering is used to demonstrate how a freshman engineering design program can benefit from evolutionary design. Evolutionary design can serve as a retention tool in freshman engineering by appealing to student interest, incorporating teamwork, recognizing the demands of industry, and demystifying the design process.

1. Introduction

Redefinition, innovation, criticism of the undergraduate engineering curricula, and program improvement – these are a growing concern of scholars interested in engineering education [1-7]. This paper shows that an approach of evolutionary design in engineering design education will contribute to freshman engineering design education and consequently to student retention.

According to the National Science Board, the U.S. is not keeping up with other countries in the rate at which college-age youth earn science and engineering degrees [1] even though holders of engineering degrees are needed. This implies a requirement to make earning an engineering degree attractive. Also, universities and colleges are not the only providers of diplomas. Competitors, enabled by IT and “the awesome power of networking,” can provide educational programs at comparatively lower cost and often more conveniently than universities and colleges [6]. Consequently, retention of students, especially at the freshman level, is a priority.

The freshman student body is generally not informed enough about engineering. On their study of freshman retention, the authors see as additional challenges in freshman education amongst others limited computer skills, few opportunities for student interactions, and no

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Orono, P., & Ekwaro-Osire, S. (2005, June), Evolutionary Design Paradigm As A Retention Tool Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15580

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