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Examples of Free Choice Open-Ended Design Projects in a First-Year Engineering Course

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2017 FYEE Conference


Daytona Beach, Florida

Publication Date

August 6, 2017

Start Date

August 6, 2017

End Date

August 8, 2017

Conference Session

Enrollment, Instruction and Pedagogy - Focus on Design-Based Projects

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Division - Paper Submission

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Paper Authors


Jack Bringardner NYU Tandon School of Engineering Orcid 16x16

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Jack Bringardner is an Assistant Professor in the First-Year Engineering Program at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. He studied civil engineering and received his B.S. from the Ohio State University and his M.S and Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. His primary focus is developing curriculum, mentoring students, and engineering education research, particularly in the Introduction to Engineering and Design course at NYU. He is the Webmaster for the ASEE First-Year Programs Division. He is also involved in the Transportation Engineering group in the NYU Civil and Urban Engineering department. He is the advisor for NYU student chapter of the Institute for Transportation Engineers.

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Gunter W. Georgi P.E. NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering

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Gunter W. Georgi, a registered Professional Engineer, is an Industry Professor at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn, New York. Prof. Georgi is the course director for the Introduction to Engineering and Design course. He received his B.S. from Cooper Union and his M.S. and professional M.E. degrees from Columbia University. He has worked many years in the aerospace industry in design, analysis, and management functions. His most challenging task was the responsibility for the Thermal Mission Analysis of the Lunar Module from Project Apollo.

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Victoria Bill NYU Tandon School of Engineering

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Victoria Bill is the MakerSpace Lab Manager and an adjunct professor in the First-Year Engineering Program at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She studied electrical engineering and received her B.S. from the Ohio State University and her M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin. Her previous work included co-directing and teaching the Summer STEM Program for high school students at the Cooper Union.

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This complete evidence-based practice paper investigates the implementation of a pilot section with free-choice in selecting an open-ended design project for the NYU Tandon School of Engineering first-year Introduction to Engineering and Design course. This pilot section has been offered for both Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. The faculty for this 3 credit hour first-year course are developing an advanced project for students who want a challenge beyond the current options. There are three different project choices that focus on either Lego Mindstorms, LabVIEW, or AutoCAD for all course sections. The same topics are addressed in each project: programming fundamentals, technical drawings, the engineering design process, teamwork, and project management. This new project focuses on the same learning objectives, but it also allows students to take ownership of their design project by generating their own idea.

The project combines entrepreneurial thinking and maker technology to allow students to address large-scale multidisciplinary engineering problems. In addition to the introduction to engineering course, a 1 credit hour first-year course, called the Innovation and Technology Forum, that focuses on the Lean Launchpad methodology and design thinking is a co-requisite for students in the pilot section. The same group of at most 15 students were enrolled in the same sections for both the 3 credit and 1 credit hour course. For this pilot section, the project requirements are a combination of the two courses. The 1 credit hour course focuses on ideation for the project while the three credit hour introduction to engineering course provides the support and resources for creating physical, technological prototypes. Care must be taken to provide the necessary additional support and resources for these prototypes with clear expectations of grades and deliverables. With that support, interested students can succeed in integrating a free-choice aspect to their first-year design project.

Bringardner, J., & Georgi, G. W., & Bill, V. (2017, August), Examples of Free Choice Open-Ended Design Projects in a First-Year Engineering Course Paper presented at 2017 FYEE Conference, Daytona Beach, Florida.

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