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Incorporating “Real World Experiences” Into Undergraduate Environmental Engineering Design Projects: Design Of Small Scale Water Purification Units

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Conference

2003 Annual Conference

Location

Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovative Teaching in Environmental Engineering

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

8.691.1 - 8.691.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/12114

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

author page

Michael Kelley

author page

Mark Talbot

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Jeffrey Starke

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Michael Butkus

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

Abstract The complete design process includes identifying a need or problem, recognizing constraints, identifying and developing courses of action, testing potential courses of action, selecting optimum courses of action, preparing the documents required for the design, managing the overall process, communicating the design, construction and testing. By linking design projects in our introductory physicochemical treatment processes course (taken by second semester juniors) and our senior capstone design course (taken by second semester seniors), we have addressed these design considerations. We require our cadet students to communicate with their customers, an illustrator and tradesmen; these are three forms of communications that are quite different from the traditional student-professor exchanges. Also, students must design under constraints, not because of the closed nature of the project but rather because of "real world" resource constraints: time to complete the project, a limited budget to purchase materials and labor, availability of materials, ease of construction, and balancing competing projects (in other courses). The first attempt at implementing this engineering design learning model occurred during the spring of 2001. Subsequently, we have incorporated an Army funded project into the design portion of these courses. The project is focused on the design of a small-scale, multi-barrier, water treatment device to be carried by the individual soldier. An overview of how this research project has been implemented into this multiphase learning model and lessons learned will be presented.

Introduction

The complete design experience includes identifying a need or problem, recognizing constraints, identifying and developing courses of action, testing potential courses of action, selecting optimum courses of action, preparing the documents required for the design, managing the overall process, construction and testing.1 In order to develop introductory level knowledge of common environmental engineering unit processes, students are often challenged with highly constrained problems that have one “right” answer. This learning model can be perfectly acceptable because it meets the intent – to provide an introductory level of understanding.2 However, by itself this "one right answer - textbook approach" cannot fulfill the curriculum level needed in engineering design.2, 3, 4 Several additional experiences, such as those identified above, are required to help students develop a more holistic appreciation for professional practice issues and to prepare them for the workplace.5, 6, 7 Such an approach may require more the one semester to achieve.89

Students can gain an enhanced appreciation for the engineering design process in an engineering program curriculum model, which features an iterative design opportunity because problem solving is a process that students must experience iteratively.10 Such an experience allows for a period of design activity, a period of growth and reflection, and a follow up period of "higher level" design activity. Because troubleshooting existing processes is quite different than designing a new device or process,2 the follow-on design activity would ideally entail an advanced phase of the same project that involves troubleshooting flaws in their first design activity. In addition, this multiyear design project would allow for the assessment of teamwork and communications throughout the students' engineering program, not just during the last semester – which is essential for student development.11 Engineers in the field want to hire young engineers who have experience working with different groups of people and have hands on experience.12 Our Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Kelley, M., & Talbot, M., & Starke, J., & Butkus, M. (2003, June), Incorporating “Real World Experiences” Into Undergraduate Environmental Engineering Design Projects: Design Of Small Scale Water Purification Units Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/12114

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