June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Design in Engineering Education
24.690.1 - 24.690.17
Immersive Experience Impact on Understanding of Design Design is a central and distinguishing activity of engineering and one of the core criteriafor evaluating and accrediting engineering programs. In today’s globally competitive economy,it is more important than ever to develop effective design skills within the undergraduate years.Furthermore, developing a human-centered approach to design is vital to appropriately preparinggraduates for the globally competitive workplace. In response, design education has receivedincreased attention within the curriculum which has motivated the creation of multidisciplinaryprograms focused on the development of engineering products and solutions. One such programengages multidisciplinary teams of students in community-based design projects. Our community engagement program has intentionally focused on long-term partnershipsand local community partners because of the learning benefits afforded through the ability toengage with community partners more regularly. Previous studies have indicated thatunderstanding the nature of those interactions between students and their community partnersand other stakeholders is important. For example, research suggests that critical experiences(where design assumptions are confronted) and immersive experiences are needed to developmore comprehensive ways of understanding design. This past summer our service-learning design program had the opportunity to offer animmersive design experience to a group of 13 students (12 undergraduate, 1 graduate) from avariety of majors. The goal of the design team was to make the camp more accessible throughthe design of an accessible tree house and the adaptation of a sailboat to allow control of thesteering through a switch (e.g., puff and sip or joystick). The students completed one week oncampus, then traveled to a camp for children with disabilities for a week. During this week, thestudents ate meals and attended various activities with the campers and met with variousstakeholders. They also involved the campers in the design of the tree house. After spending aweek at camp, the students returned to campus to continue work on the designs. In order to understand the impact of this experience on the students’ understanding ofdesign, we had the students complete a design task at the beginning and end of the immersiveexperience. The design task asks participants to respond to a specific scenario with a designplan, as well as explores motivations through open-ended questions. We have analyzed thechanges between the pre- and post-administration of the instrument and preliminary resultssuggest that the immersive experience did develop a more comprehensive understanding ofhuman-centered design. This paper briefly describes the immersive learning experience and examines the impactthat an immersive community engagement experience has had on student learning of design. Wealso compare the pre/post responses to data we have collected from a similar participation thatdid not have the immersive experience. Finally, we suggest how these findings can informdesign education.
Cummings, A. T., & Zoltowski, C. B., & Hsu, M., & Cardella, M. E., & Oakes, W. C. (2014, June), Immersive Experience Impact on Students' Understanding of Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20582
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