August 9, 2021
August 9, 2021
August 21, 2021
Much discussion has been held in recent years concerning the advantage of having engineering students work on multidisciplinary design teams. The Multidisciplinary Division of ASEE has addressed this issue at its annual convention for over a decade. Benefits of multidisciplinary team work have been identified to include: the development of technical skills in each student’s particular discipline, the development of professional skills (communication, presentation, conflict resolution, group dynamics) and exposure to (and further technical understanding and recognition of) disciplines other than each student’s own. Many universities define the term “multidisciplinary” as relating to groups comprised of diverse engineering disciplines only, whereas, other universities include in the definition disciplines outside of engineering – and even outside of the college (such as sciences, humanities, business). Many universities relegate multidisciplinary team experiences to senior/ capstone projects only and some include sophomore to senior courses. Other universities run programs that include multidisciplinary design group experiences for freshmen through seniors such as: the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) Program, Vertical Integrated Programs (VIP) and other Service-Based Learning initiatives such as Engineers Without Borders, UN Development Programme Sustainable Development Goals and National Academy of Engineers Grand Challenges. Subsequent to their selection of a particular major, First Year engineering students often identify themselves as their selected major (“I’m an electrical engineer”) with the preconception that there will be no interaction with other engineering disciplines (or other professional entities) when they practice engineering in their educational and professional careers. In an effort to broaden the students’ perception and understanding of the existence of multidisciplinary interaction on design projects, engineering programs at four Northeastern U.S. Universities included course materials in their Introduction to Engineering classes to address this topic in the first year. The courses included lecture and experiential components. Student surveys were subsequently administered at each of the universities in order to assess the effectiveness of the teaching methods. Participants were asked to indicate their level of awareness and understanding of the prevalence of multidisciplinary projects before and after taking the course. The results of the surveys will be presented in a forthcoming paper. However, this paper presents the teaching methods and materials employed, as well as recommendations of which material or activities should be included in the course to promote multidisciplinary project awareness in the future.
Marino, R. J., & Cross, M., & Feinauer, D. M., & McCusker, J. R., & Casale, J. P. (2021, August), Including Multi-Disciplinary Project Awareness in First Year Introduction to Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/38391
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