Asee peer logo

Introducing Design To Freshmen And Sophomores At Western Kentucky University

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Teaching Design Through Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.773.1 - 8.773.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Stacy Wilson

author page

Mark Cambron

Download Paper |

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


Mark E. Cambron and Stacy S. Wilson

Department of Engineering Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 42101

Abstract The role of design in an engineering curriculum is a key issue to the success of the program and graduates. In the Electrical Engineering program at Western Kentucky University, two new courses have been developed for the first and second years of the program which are focused on teaching design through robotics. In the first course, students must build a robotic “bug.” During this design experience, the students solder components, learn to read a simple circuit diagram, and program a BASIC Stamp chip. In the second design course, students must build a simple robot which is programmable logic controller driven. Through this experience, the students learn to deal with cost constraints, basic robot construction, and programming. The results of these courses, student feedback, and suggested improvements are included in this paper.


The Department of Engineering at Western Kentucky University (WKU) has been given the rare opportunity to develop an entirely new engineering program. Western’s challenge is to create a unique undergraduate curriculum focused on the needs of current and future industrial partners. WKU has a foundation of over 30 years of engineering technology education. The existing technology programs are being phased out and new programs in electrical, mechanical and civil engineering have been developed. These programs are joint programs with the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky. The first graduates are anticipated spring 2004. The Mission of the WKU’s Department of Engineering revolves around our vision of Project Based Learning. The central focus of this vision is that the faculty engage students in activities to support development of a clear understanding of engineering practice. The roles of students - as learners, as observers, as assistants, and as practitioners - should be supported by both the external project activities of the faculty as well as the implementation of the curriculum such that the practice of engineering is clearly demonstrated.1

In the 1990’s, a move towards a project-based learning model was developed and is generally supported in the American engineering education undergraduate community.2,3 A primary focus of WKU’s engineering programs is to provide a project-based experience at all levels of the curriculum. WKU’s goal is to provide students with relevant project experiences inside and outside the classroom. Throughout the electrical engineering (EE) program, hands-on experiences have been incorporated into the curriculum by the addition of several lab classes, design classes, and project classes. In addition, students are encouraged to be involved in industry

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Wilson, S., & Cambron, M. (2003, June), Introducing Design To Freshmen And Sophomores At Western Kentucky University Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11984

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: © 2003 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