June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.807.1 - 15.807.12
Introduction to Mechanical Engineering - A Hands-On Approach
In this paper, the development and evolution of a sophomore-level introduction to Mechanical Engineering (ME) class – ME2505 Mechanical Engineering Analysis and Design – is presented. The primary course objectives are to introduce students to the technical aspects of ME and to help students develop general skills needed to be successful ME students and engineer. These objectives are achieved through a hands-on, project-based laboratory coupled with complementary theory-based lectures. This class differs from typical introduction to engineering courses because it is offered to sophomores, which enables higher-level engineering content to be covered. The topics addressed in this paper are the initial development of the course, the evolution of the course over the past eight years, the current state of the course, student assessment of the course, and plans for future development.
In this paper, the development and evolution of the sophomore-level introduction to Mechanical Engineering (ME) class at Villanova University (VU) – ME2505 Mechanical Engineering Analysis and Design (MEA&D) – is presented. This course focuses on introducing ME through a hands-on, project-based laboratory coupled with complementary theory-based lectures. First introduced eight years ago, this course has gradually evolved based on student, instructor, and faculty feedback. For example, the effectiveness of different laboratory activities has been evaluated using student surveys, the results of which have been used to direct modifications, and in some case replacement/redesign, of laboratory activities. Most recently, a greater focus has been placed on updating the lecture component of the course, with a specific emphasis on team- based active-learning. Future efforts in the course include the integration of content from state- of-the-art topics, such as mechatronics and nanotechnology, into both the laboratory and lecture. The topics addressed in this paper are the initial development of the course, the evolution of the course over the past eight years, the current state of the course, student assessment of the course, and plans for future development.
This MEA&D class differs from typical introduction to engineering classes1-14 in two main areas: 1) the class is offered to sophomore students and 2) the inclusion of higher-level engineering content. First, this class is offered to sophomore students, while typical introductory engineering courses are offered to freshmen1-12. The Villanova University College of Engineering features a common freshman year and thus, students do not join their major department until their sophomore year, when this course is offered. It should be noted that some other universities do offer Sophomore level introduction to engineering courses13,14, but they often tend to focus heavily on the design process, which is covered, but is not only focus area of the class. This enables the MEA&D instructors to offer the students more challenging hands-on projects, homework assignments, exams, and design projects, which leads to the second difference. Because this class is offered to sophomore students, the scope and difficulty of the engineering content included in the class is quite broad – covering all main aspects of mechanical engineering as well as general engineering content. Please note that there are introductory engineering classes that cover advanced content1,2, but their scopes are more focused.
Clayton, G., & O'Brien, J., & Kroos, K., & Fleischer, A. (2010, June), Introduction To Mechanical Engineering A Hands On Approach Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16291
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