Asee peer logo

Incorporating Basic Systems Thinking and Systems Engineering Concepts in a Mechanical Engineering Sophomore Design Course

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Systems Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28504

Download Count

109

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Karim Heinz Muci-Kuchler South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

visit author page

Karim Muci-Küchler is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Co-Director of the Experimental and Computational Mechanics Laboratory at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T). Before joining SDSM&T, he was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University in 1992. His main interest areas include Computational Mechanics, Solid Mechanics, and Product Design and Development. He has taught several different courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, has over 50 publications, is co-author of one book, and has done consulting for industry in Mexico and the US. He can be reached at Karim.Muci@sdsmt.edu.

visit author page

biography

Mark David Bedillion Carnegie Mellon University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5065-4131

visit author page

Dr. Bedillion received the BS degree in 1998, the MS degree in 2001, and the PhD degree in 2005, all from the mechanical engineering department of Carnegie Mellon University. After a seven year career in the hard disk drive industry, Dr. Bedillion was on the faculty of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for over 5 years before joining Carnegie Mellon University as a Teaching Faculty in August 2016. Dr. Bedillion's research interests include distributed manipulation, control applications in data storage, control applications in manufacturing, and STEM education.

visit author page

biography

Shaobo Huang South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

visit author page

Dr. Shaobo Huang is an Assistant Professor and the Stensaas Endowed STEM Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Her research interests include student retention and academic performance in engineering, student achievement evaluation and assessment, and K-12 STEM curriculum design.

visit author page

biography

Cassandra M Degen South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

visit author page

Dr. Cassandra Degen received her B.S. degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 2007. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying mechanochemical reactions of a spiropyran mechanophore in polymeric materials under shear loading. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where her research interests include novel manufacturing and characterization techniques of polymer and composite structures and the incorporation of multifunctionality by inducing desired responses to mechanical loading.

visit author page

biography

Marius D Ellingsen South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

visit author page

Assistant Professor at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Mechanical Engineering Department. Teaching solid mechanics related courses. Researches Stem Ed and fracture mechanics in novel material systems.

visit author page

biography

Walelign Messele Nikshi South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

visit author page

Currently, I am a Ph.D student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. I received my B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Arba Minch University (Ethiopia), and my M.Sc. in Mechanical Automation and Mechatronics from University of Twente (The Netherlands). I have 2+ years experience in the high tech industry where I worked as a design engineer. My research interests include control of mobile robots, control of Mechanical systems, and Mechatronics.

visit author page

biography

John Ziadat South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

visit author page

Mr. Ziadat received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) in 2014 before going to work for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, CA as a Mechanical Design Engineer. In 2015, his decision to pursue graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering led him back to SDSM&T, where his thesis topic involves the numerical simulation of ballistic impact events. Mr. Ziadat is expected to receive his Master’s degree in May 2017, after which he will be working as a Structural Analyst within Blue Origin’s Propulsion Analysis group, located in Kent, WA.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Mechanical engineering undergraduate programs in the US commonly have one or more courses and a capstone design project in their curricula that allow students to learn and put into practice the basic methodologies and tools that are typically used during the design and development of new products. However, in most instances the product design and development process considered is geared towards products of low to moderate complexity. Furthermore, little emphasis is usually placed on exposing students to systems thinking and systems engineering concepts. As a result, student teams tend to struggle when they have to design products involving multiple sub-systems and areas of technical expertise. This deficiency becomes particularly evident when students work on design projects corresponding to some of the collegiate design competitions sponsored by professional engineering societies such as the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Formula or Mini Baja competition or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Human Powered Vehicle competition. In those projects, problems with the integration of sub-systems can be prevalent, causing major delays and last minute design changes that can lead to poor product performance or even failure.

One strategy to incorporate systems thinking and systems engineering concepts in the mechanical engineering undergraduate curriculum is to introduce the concepts in a gradual fashion, beginning in the freshman or sophomore year and culminating in a capstone design experience in which the students can apply and improve the knowledge, skills, and abilities that they have gained in their previous design related courses. This paper presents the approach that was used to include systems thinking and systems engineering concepts in a sophomore-level product design and development course for mechanical engineering undergraduate students. In addition, the results that were obtained during the first implementation, including data collected using different assessment instruments, are discussed.

Three main factors were taken into consideration in the approach that was followed. First, the educational materials and learning activities needed to be appropriate for the level of the course. Second, the time required to cover the new content had to be reasonable and the educational materials and learning activities needed to be such that they could be easily intertwined with the topics already covered in the existing course. Finally, the benefits of the modifications made to the course needed to be evaluated using different assessment instruments. Regarding the latter, a survey developed by some of the authors of this paper was applied at the beginning and at the end of the course to try to gauge the improvement in the systems thinking skills of the students.

Muci-Kuchler, K. H., & Bedillion, M. D., & Huang, S., & Degen, C. M., & Ellingsen, M. D., & Nikshi, W. M., & Ziadat, J. (2017, June), Incorporating Basic Systems Thinking and Systems Engineering Concepts in a Mechanical Engineering Sophomore Design Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28504

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015