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Integrating Service Oriented Design Projects In The Engineering Curriculum

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

multim engr edu;dist.,servi&intern based

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.703.1 - 7.703.13



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Paper Authors

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Kristin Wood

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Daniel McAdams

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Robert B. Stone

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Alan Dutson

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Matthew Green

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Main Menu Session 3660

Integrating Service-Oriented Design Projects in the Engineering Curriculum

Matthew Green, Alan Dutson, and Kristin Wood Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Robert Stone and Dan McAdams Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Missouri-Rolla

Abstract Engineering curricula are undergoing continual advancements. Faculty seek to apply new techniques and strategies to interest students, to address their diverse backgrounds, and to achieve a balance between theory and practical, hands-on applications. One area of advancement is project-centered education. To provide students with realistic applications, projects are being used as an instructional vehicle. The extent of the projects depends on the type of course, ranging from support projects in analytical courses to backbone projects in design courses. No matter where a course falls in this range, a key question in project-centered curricula is the type of projects that should be used. In this paper, we propose a service-oriented strategy for choosing projects. This strategy provides a number of advantages to students and faculty. These advantages are described in the context of basic implementation principles and four case studies. Results are shown for an undergraduate design methods course, an undergraduate capstone design course, two graduate-level product development courses, and a Masters of Science research project.

Introduction Project-centered education is becoming an emphasis of many engineering curricula. As part of this emphasis, unique opportunities exist to expose our students to a variety of design or open- ended projects. Service projects, or those that emphasize human need, represent one such opportunity. According to the NSPE Engineers’ Creed, Professional Engineers are called upon to “place service before profit … and the public welfare above all other considerations.” In this spirit, it is possible to create successful service projects that directly benefit a number of groups in our society: those marginalized by disasters, persons with disabilities, and the rural poor of developing countries. In the US, nearly 10% of the population copes with a severe disability1. Worldwide, many national economies have led to lifestyles with persons struggling for physical survival on a daily basis. A coarse measure of the distribution of technology indicates one-third of our world’s population lacks access to electricity 2. Engineering curricula should acknowledge these abundant opportunities for service-oriented design projects in our increasingly global society, and seek reliable methods for delivering and realizing such projects with our students.

This paper presents four approaches exemplifying the integration of human need projects into student design work. These approaches are: (1) an undergraduate design methods class in which teams design new concepts, such as a heat exchanger for medical relief teams; (2) an undergraduate capstone design class in which students deliver a working prototype, such as a wheelchair positioning unit; (3) two graduate prototyping classes in which students deliver a working prototype, such as an assistive lock-opener for persons with physical disabilities; and (4) an MS thesis research program for developing countries, with such projects as a handbook for

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Wood, K., & McAdams, D., & Stone, R. B., & Dutson, A., & Green, M. (2002, June), Integrating Service Oriented Design Projects In The Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10793

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