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Learning By Design „ What Have We Learned?

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.391.1 - 3.391.16

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Paper Authors

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Louis L. Bucciarelli

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

The College of Engineering at the University of Maryland is currently in the early stages of redesigning its statics and mechanics of materials curriculum into a combined year-long course centered around a group design project. The intention is to move students to take responsibility for learning the technical content required by the project and to enhance the strong links between statics and strength of materials, traditionally taught as two different courses. Mechanics Reform in Introductory Strength of Materials N.J. Salamon, F. Costanzo, R.S. Engel, A. Segall and G.L. Gray, Penn State Our objective is to stimulate learning engineering mechanics through realistic application of theory via engineering design and the use of computers. While our efforts impact all mechanics courses, we focus here on the introduction of design into the traditional, lecture format, introductory strength of materials course. The new syllabus dedicates six classes to design and includes a sequence of paced milestones that students must pass to complete the design project. The project is worked on by teams of 3 to 4 students over an eight-week period. Numerous other lectures include design content by “inverting” example and homework problems from analysis - with geometry given - to design for geometry - with performance given. Room for new material was made by combining related topics, revising the delivery of existing topics and dropping two topics (Mohr's circle for strain and energy methods). Learning By Design In Circuits And Electronics Theresa S. Mayer.Electrical Engineering, Penn State A four-credit hour, sophomore-level core course, “Circuits and Devices” (EE 210) has been revised to provide an integrated, design-oriented approach by combining lecture material and lab experiments. A series of modular labs has been developed to give students the background needed to design and construct the electronic stages of a simple compact disk (CD) player during the final weeks of the course. Each week, a new circuit concept, is introduced in lecture and lab by relating it to a functional block in the CD player. Modules used in the final design include analog voltage amplifiers and buffers, a volume control circuit, a volume display circuit using light emitting diodes (LEDs), a 115 V power supply using a filtered half-wave rectifier, and a push-pull power amplifier. The four-credit sequel course, “Electronic Circuit Design” (EE 310) is also being revised with an emphasis on design in lecture and laboratory to enhance student understanding and motivation, and hence the learning of the subject matter. Integration of Design In Statics and Strength of Materials Larry Bucciarelli, MIT I describe the effectiveness of using six short “paper” design exercises in teaching statics and strength of materials to sophomores in civil engineering. The design exercises are open ended. Their purpose is not to teach design per se but to move students to appropriate the concepts and principles of the subject by putting them to use. Students keep a journal (written in ink, no erasures) to document their approach. I encourage students to use the web for data and other concepts, a spreadsheet for evaluating sensitivity to parameters, matlab, the two dimensional, truss and frame matrix analysis tools I have developed. I describe how use of open-ended exercises, together with emphasis on process, reveals student misunderstandings that would go undetected in a traditional course. SESSION III Industry Driven Design Interdisciplinary Integration of Design at CCNY - A Progress Report. Yiannis Andreopoulos, Mechanical, Irv. Rinard, Chemical, and Vasil Diyamandogolu, Civil Engineering, CCNY Three faculty from three departments and ten undergraduate students are participating in this experiment in the integration of multidisciplinary design into the three departments' curricula. Two design projects have been undertaken as part of already existing senior design courses. The first project focused on the design of a chemical miniplant for the environmentally safe production of hydrogen cyanide. The second focused on the design of chlorine disinfection systems for domestic wastewater treatment. Although the experiment is still in its initial stage, already we recognize significant administrative and managerial barriers inherent in our approach due, in large part, to constraints and conditions imposed by existing curricula. While all students found the workload twice as heavy as students in the regular design projects, most still would recommend the interdisciplinary design experience to other students. Teaching New Product Development through -a Product Engineering Approach P. Cunniff, J. Dally, L. Schmidt, and G. Zhang, Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland

Bucciarelli, L. L. (1998, June), Learning By Design „ What Have We Learned? Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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