June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Design in Engineering Education
24.811.1 - 24.811.15
Introducing Sustainability into Engineering Design: a First Year CourseEngineering Design is a first year student course that introduces systematic engineering designmethods. Using the engineering design cycle, students are walked through each phase of thecycle using real world examples. Two faculty members introduced a sustainability theme intothe existing project-based course to around 200 students (approximately one third of theincoming freshman). With the university’s mission to become a more sustainably aware campus,this piloted theme synchronized well with long term goals. Thematic sustainability lessons thatfocused on water, materials, and alternative energy technologies were introduced throughout thecourse alongside traditional methods used to teach the engineering design cycle and culminatedwith a themed group final project to design a sustainable home in an assigned global location.The thematic inclusion of sustainability resulted not only in gained knowledge on sustainabledesigns and practices but also stronger projects that were more realistic to actual engineeringdesign projects (compared to past years). The improved quality of design projects was a resultof an increased understanding of needs assessment which can be directly tied to the additionallessons. Pre and post assessments were taken by 180 first year engineering students plus 30 highschool students, who received scholarships to take the first year college course. The thematiclessons created a more focused classroom experience with broader results of students feelingmore confident in their research skills. Overall, the improvement in design projects stemmingfrom the thematic foundation showed an increase in student confidence in their design abilitiesaccording to early evaluations. In collaboration with other faculty the thematic approach will beexpanded in this course next year to include other topics that align with the university’s mission.
Pfluger, C., & Schulte Grahame, K. (2014, June), Introducing Sustainability into Engineering Design: A First-Year Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20703
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