June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.813.1 - 24.813.23
Teaching the Fundamentals of Systems Engineering through Various Interactive Group Activities Madeleine Brannon, Dr. Thomas Mazzuchi, Dr. Zoe Szajnfarber George Washington University, Washington, DC Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department firstname.lastname@example.orgThe concepts and tools taught in an introductory course to Systems Engineering involve amindset which is not familiar to freshman undergraduate students. Teaching SystemsEngineering at a freshman level is challenging because students do not have work experiences todraw from to solidify the tools they are learning. We aim to overcome this barrier by usingimmersive group activities to provide a simulated context in which students can apply and learnabout the benefits of Systems Engineering. Our Introduction to Systems Analysis course isstructured around three group projects, which collectively provide an overview of thefundamental lessons of the field. The projects are an egg drop challenge which teaches the valueof upfront systems engineering and rapid prototyping, a LEGO Mindstorm competition whichteaches the importance of testing and validation, in addition to design under operationaluncertainty, and a Lean Simulation game which teaches user needs and enterprise value.While it has been well established in the general pedagogical literature that group projects andactive learning are effective teaching tools, they are not widely used in Systems Engineering fora variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are creating realistic and accessible SystemsEngineering problems is difficult in a classroom setting and coordinating effective group projectscan be complex and costly. In this paper we document our attempt to overcome these challengesand explore how they impact the student’s learning experience. First we compare the content ofour Introduction to Systems Analysis to other similar undergraduate introductory systemsengineering classes at peer institutions to identify core differences in our approach. Second wemeasure the learning progress through class observations and feedback from the students. Theclass observations include our perceptions of how students’ questions evolve over the semesterand also the extent of their engagement. The feedback portion provides the results and analysisof a survey where students rate the projects in the course, exploring which projects successfullytied our learning objectives to their perceived knowledge of Systems Engineering.
Brannon, M. C., & Szajnfarber, Z., & Mazzuchi, T. A. (2014, June), Introducing the Fundamentals of Systems Engineering to Freshman through Various Interactive Group Activities Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20705
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