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Hybrid Lessons in Multidisciplinary Senior Design: A Study

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

SE Capstone Design Projects, Part II

Tagged Divisions

Systems Engineering and Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.790.1 - 22.790.8



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Paper Authors


Catherine Skokan Colorado School of Mines

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Catherine Skokan is an Associate Professor of Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. She received her B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines in Geophysical Engineering and was the first woman to receive a graduate degree from that institution. Her educational research interests include multidisciplinary engineering, humanitarian engineering, and curriculum development and design.

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Under an educational research fellowship, a study was undertaken on the use of on-linematerials to replace some of the multidisciplinary engineering senior design lessonswhich were originally developed for a lecture format. The research question was: Willon-line delivery of Multidisciplinary Senior Design lesson material be as effective forstudent learning, or even more effective, than the present method of lecture-basedinstruction? Baseline data was first collected with a pre-test at the beginning of the fall2008 semester to assess student knowledge. The standard lecture course was presentedand at the end of the two-semester sequence in the spring, 2009, a post-contentknowledge assessment was administered. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of thiscourse lecture topics generally address systematic techniques for design and projectmanagement. Examples of topics include: Memo and Letter Preparation, RecordKeeping, Leadership, the Design Process, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Failuremodes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Safety Issues, Engineering Codes, SpecificationsPreparation, Project Scheduling, Budget Preparation, Proposal Contents, and Ethics. Aseries of these lecture topics was converted to on-line format using Blackboard. Thislecture series was made available to the new senior design faculty along with a discussionof its use and of the research study. Again a pre-course content assessment wasadministered in the fall of 2009. Once more at the end of the spring, 2010, a post-assessment was also given. However, the new faculty, and the new format for seniordesign involved even more lectures and the on-line lessons were not put to use. Theresults show that there was less gain in content during the second year with even morelecture time. In talking to the faculty member in charge of the second class, he indicatedthat the material contained in the pre-/post- assessment was covered in the lecture portionof the course, but that it was perhaps diluted because of the large amount of additionalinformation that was presented. In conclusion, the hybrid on-line and in-class format wasnot utilized even though it was developed. Although the research in the literature is clearthat experiential- and self-learning techniques are more effective learning tools, manyprofessors still rely on lecture as is evidenced in this multidisciplinary senior designexample.

Skokan, C. (2011, June), Hybrid Lessons in Multidisciplinary Senior Design: A Study Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18071

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