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Integrating Cad Into An Already Packed Curriculum: Is Another Class Necessary?

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.322.1 - 4.322.9

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Paper Authors

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Michael D. Murphy

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Daniel Jensen

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

Session 3225

Integrating CAD into an Already Packed Curriculum: Is Another Class Necessary?

Michael D. Murphy, Daniel D. Jensen United States Air Force Academy


ABET criteria and industrial demands for both breadth and depth can create overloaded engineering curricula. One possible option for alleviating some of the overload is to eliminate the stand-alone CAD class by incorporating CAD into a low level design course. A case for CAD integration into existing courses is presented. Three options we have recently used for teaching CAD include: 2-D drawings integrated into a 200 level design course; 3-D solid modeling in a 300 level course devoted exclusively to CAD; and, 3-D solid modeling integrated into a 200 level design course. Assessment metrics developed are based on learning styles (the Kolb model, scaffolding, and inductive/deductive), content (% reduction/increase in topic coverage), and context (stand-alone tools vs. industrial design iteration). Historical feedback from both students and professors provides additional assessment data. Professor feedback includes effect of CAD pedagogy on follow-on course student preparation and performance. A solution is suggested which not only fits into an existing program, but also integrates the CAD "tool" naturally into the designer’s toolbox. It is shown that CAD inclusion can be extensive and extremely complimentary without sacrificing instructor time, program requirements, or critical topic coverage.

1.0 Introduction

Packing Engineering curricula with more and more courses is one way to satisfy the demands of ABET 13 as well as incorporate new technology to keep pace with industry advances 11,16,22. Certainly, the “Just-In-Time” approach has been used – new engineers learning software packages “independently” or through training classes after graduation 16,22. This approach has proven less than desirable for students as well as employers – taking extra time and money away from production, and, many times learning tools out of the useful integration of knowledge context 10. In particular, different options for including CAD in the curriculum have been adopted 2,3,4,5,19,23,25. This presents a dilemma placed in the domain of undergraduate curricula. In the specific arena of Computer Aided Design (CAD), the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) has employed 3 experiences converging on a preferred solution.

2.0 CAD Integration Experiences

The Department of Engineering Mechanics at USAFA has incorporated CAD into the curriculum in various ways over the past 10 years. Most significant in these strategies include: the integration of 2-D CAD into a sophomore level Engineering Design course (EM 290) via 3

Murphy, M. D., & Jensen, D. (1999, June), Integrating Cad Into An Already Packed Curriculum: Is Another Class Necessary? Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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