June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.941.1 - 22.941.9
Intercollegiate Design Competitions and MTSU’s Machine Shop: Kindling Engineering Technology-Student Creativity & ConfidenceAbstractEducators often face the daunting task of finding ways to encourage creativity andconfidence in students. Limited time and pre-defined course objectives can furtherburden this task. Hands-on activities in the laboratory courses that often supplementbasic science classes are, inarguably, beneficial as they can both reinforce classroomconcepts and instill students with confidence in both their knowledge and abilities.However, that confidence is often limited to the specific constructs of the textbooks usedin the specific courses, and laboratory work may not always challenge or excite students.Engineering educators face additional challenges in creating hands-on experiences fortheir students. The nature of engineering endeavors in terms of cost and development-time can limit abilities to create meaningful engineering- laboratory courses.Additionally, faculty-led and course-driven laboratory experiences are often designedaround textbook concepts that do not necessarily expose students to challenges similar tothose they may encounter in their future professional endeavors. This may leave studentsquestioning the relevance of their education to “the real world” at the end of theircourses. At Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), the Engineering Technology(ET) Department has overcome these issues through the partnership of its student-led,extracurricular Engineering Vehicle Program (EVP) and the student-managed campusmachine-shop laboratory.Students, excited by their participation in EVP projects and by their access to state-of-the-art engineering tools, enthusiastically participate in machine shop activities. Themachine shop provides a learning environment similar to that found in traditionalscience-based laboratories without the similar structure that can, potentially, stiflecreativity. Students are naturally motivated to perform well at EVP design competitions,and the machine shop provides means for them to develop unique solutions for designand manufacturing challenges.This paper will explain MTSU’s approach to inspiring engineering creativity andconfidence in its engineering technology students through utilization of an on-campusmachine shop and participation in national intercollegiate design competitions. Thesuccess of MTSU’s approach has been realized through both increased enrollment andgraduation rates in its Engineering Technology Department.
Foroudastan, S. D., & Klapper, R., & Hyde, S. (2011, June), Intercollegiate Design Competitions and MTSU’s Machine Shop: Kindling Engineering Technology-Student Creativity & Confidence Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18300
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