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Implementation of a Novel Second-year Mechanical Engineering Course to the Curriculum

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Manufacturing and Machine Component Design

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.904.1 - 26.904.17



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Paper Authors


Sandra Anstaett Metzler P.E. Ohio State University

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Professor Sandra Anstaett Metzler received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1983. Dr. Metzler received her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and her D.Sc. in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Dr. Metzler worked in the automotive industry for General Motors, beginning as a high-school intern in the Engineering Test Garage and continuing through her undergraduate career and the first year of professional practice. Dr. Metzler then worked in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries for approximately 10 years before returning to graduate school at Washington University. Dr. Metzler completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University in Biomedical Engineering, after which she worked in the consulting arena for the past ten years. In 2011 she began teaching Capstone Design in the mechanical engineering curriculum within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University, in addition to continuing her consulting practice. In January, 2014 Dr. Metzler moved to full-time teaching responsibilities at Ohio State, where she continues to teach Capstone Design, as well as several other courses in the Design and Manufacturing group within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

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Blaine W. Lilly Ohio State University

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Blaine Lilly is an Associate Professor in the College of Engineering at Ohio State University, with a joint appointment in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial & Systems Engineering. He has been on the faculty since 1998, and teaches courses in product design engineering and the introduction to mechanical engineering course outlined in this paper.

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Implementation of a Novel Second-Year Mechanical Engineering Course to the Curriculum  In  2012,  the  University  System  of  Ohio  member  universities,  which  are  overseen  by  the  Ohio  Board  of  Regents,  moved  from  operating  on  a  quarter-­‐based  calendar  to  a  semester-­‐based  calendar.  In  conjunction  with  this  change,  the  Mechanical  Engineering  curriculum  at  The  Ohio  State  University  was  revised,  and  a  new  and  unique  course  was  added  to  the  required  curriculum  for  students  in  the  major.  The  course,  titled  “Introduction  to  Mechanical  Engineering”,  encompasses  elements  of  both  the  spiral  curriculum  and  experiential  learning  strategies.  A  prior  ASEE  paper1  outlined  the  structure  of  the  course  at  the  time  of  pilot  development,  and  the  student  feedback  provided  by  the  pilot  program  participants.  Now  in  its  third  year  of  full-­‐scale  implementation,  the  course  has  undergone  some  modification  from  its  original  design.  Additionally,  exploration  has  begun  within  the  department  in  order  to  incorporate  additional  elements  of  the  mechanical  engineering  curriculum  into  the  course  in  a  more  comprehensive  spiral  approach.      The  key  challenges  for  this  course  are  that  it  is  a  required  course  for  all  students  in  the  major  in  a  very  large  department,  and  that  it  is  a  hands-­‐on  course  in  which  all  students  are  required  to  complete  every  aspect  of  the  machining,  assembly,  and  programming  of  a  compressed  air  motor  individually.  The  course  was  designed  specifically  with  this  requirement  to  insure  that  every  student  was  provided  the  opportunity  to  directly  interact  in  every  aspect  of  the  process,  in  order  to  prevent  the  specialization,  uneven  participation  and  resulting  uneven  skill  and  knowledge  gains  that  can  occur  in  group  project  settings.  One  interesting  outcome  of  the  course  has  been  the  relatively  large  percentage  of  female  students  who  completed  the  course  and  then  applied  and  were  selected  as  undergraduate  teaching  assistants  for  the  course.  In  a  department  and  discipline  where  female  students  remain  under–represented  overall,  they  have  been  participating  at  high  levels  in  this  role.  We  report  here  on  the  evolution  of  the  course  from  its  original  pilot  program  through  the  first  four  semesters  of  full-­‐scale  implementation,  as  well  as  future  plans  for  the  course.  Our  assessment  includes  detailed  feedback  from  students  and  teaching  assistants  who  completed  the  course  in  the  initial  two  years.    Reference:  1.  Abrams,  Lisa,  James  William  Aultschuld,  Blaine  W.  Lilly,  Daniel  A.  Mendelsohn  “Introduction  to  Mechanical  Engineering:  A  Course  in  Progress”,  2012  ASEE  Annual    Confernce,  AC 2012-5238.  

Metzler, S. A., & Lilly, B. W. (2015, June), Implementation of a Novel Second-year Mechanical Engineering Course to the Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24241

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