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Introduction to Mechanical Engineering: A Course in Progress

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering: Curricula and Courses

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.852.1 - 25.852.19



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Paper Authors


Lisa Abrams Ohio State University

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Lisa Abrams, P.E., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Engineering Education Innovation Center and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Ohio State University. Prior to this position, she worked as the Director of Women in Engineering at Ohio State and as Assistant Dean in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Miami University. She also has seven years of industry experience. She received her B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering at Ohio State and Ph.D. in industrial engineering at Ohio State.

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James William Altschuld Ohio State University

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Blaine W. Lilly Ohio State University


Daniel A. Mendelsohn Ohio State University

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Dan Mendelsohn is an Associate Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Ohio State University. He received his doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from Northwestern University in 1979. His current research interests include nonlinear wave propagation and vibrations in damaged materials and evaluation and assessment of curriculum related to problem solving and design. Mendelsohn is a member of ASME and ASEE.

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Changing the Mechanical Engineering Design Sequence at XXX University: A Work in ProgressDue to a Summer 2012 conversion of quarters to semester, XXX has embarked on an effort torevamp and enhance its design sequence. This began in the Spring and Summer of 2010 withgraduating student exit interviews, alumni focus groups, and faculty retreats. These culminatedin a modification of the current design sequence at this university. This paper focuses on a newdesign course for second year students admitted to Mechanical Engineering. The primaryobjectives of the course are two-fold: (i) to enhance student’s foundational knowledge, skills,and associated intuition, and (ii) to introduce the students to open–ended design problems. Thecourse is focused on the design and fabrication of functional artifacts. The students will work inteams to construct a compressed–air motor from a kit of parts, most of which will requiremachining to close tolerances before assembly. Then students will have their initial contact withsystems concepts such as control involving, for example, use of a stepper motor to control inletair pressure to the motor. Each team will then design and prototype a device that will be drivenby the output shaft of the motor and which will perform a useful task of the team’s own devising.Students will follow a structured design process while using common design techniques such asPugh charts and Quality Function Deployment charts in their decision processes. Each team willcreate several candidate design concepts, which they will winnow down to a single conceptthrough an iterative process. Two pilots of the new design course will be completed before thesemester implementation. Assessment instruments of the pilots include assignment rubrics,focus groups, surveys, and questionnaires. This paper includes some of the preliminary datacollection and results and issues encountered by the development team.

Abrams, L., & Altschuld, J. W., & Lilly, B. W., & Mendelsohn, D. A. (2012, June), Introduction to Mechanical Engineering: A Course in Progress Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21609

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