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Improving Learning Of Engineering Graphics Through A Combination Of Techniques

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Curriculum Development and Applications

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.857.1 - 12.857.8

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Paper Authors


Keith Fisher Montana State University

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Montana State University

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Kevin Cook Montana State University

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

Improving Learning of Engineering Graphics Through a Combination of Techniques


The quest for improved learning of engineering graphics communications skills is of continued interest to many institutions. Prompted by observed deficiencies in graphics communication skills in students, the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Montana State University has undertaken a revision of teaching methods; utilizing a combination of simple strategies, with the goals of re-emphasizing the communications aspect of engineering graphics, giving students improved tools and techniques for drawing, modeling, and analysis, and increasing learning and retention of those techniques. The individual methods used in combination include: extending the graphics exposure throughout the first three years of the curriculum, making the courses design project centered - with the integrated physical production of the projects as an essential part of the learning process, adopting a “corporate work environment” in some portions of the classes, emphasizing the use of reference materials in the design and drawing process so that students will learn to be resourceful life-long learners, and using both individual feedback, and self-evaluation techniques as reinforcement. This combination of methods has shown preliminary promise of improving the learning and retention of graphical communication capabilities and performance for engineering students, both while in school, and beyond.


This paper details the ongoing work to revise the learning of engineering graphics in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Montana State University, and to integrate the learning of graphics more thoroughly with the other courses in the program. The revision is part of a more comprehensive revision of the entire program curriculum1, currently underway.

This program, like one other the author was associated with at another university, has seen deficiencies in the performance of students in the area of graphics utilization later in their academic careers. For example, the third year students have exhibited difficulties in conceptualizing and utilizing graphical solutions to vector problems in kinematics, and senior students have struggled with producing quality documentation of their capstone design projects. These observed deficiencies may be due in part to the compression of engineering curricula in years past which has relegated engineering graphics solely to a two credit first year Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) course, with very little follow-up, or use, until the fourth year design projects, during which time the students seems to have lost connection with what they should have learned in the first year. Feedback obtained from the Industrial Advisory Board for the department, as well as employer and alumni surveys, has verified these deficiencies and the need for improving the graphical communications education in the MET program.

Fisher, K., & Cook, K. (2007, June), Improving Learning Of Engineering Graphics Through A Combination Of Techniques Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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