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Learning The Tools And Techniques Of Geographically Dispersed Collaborative Design Via A Brief Student Project

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.678.1 - 6.678.13



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Paper Authors

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Waleed Smari

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Jon Stevens

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Andrew Murray

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

Session 3225

Learning the Tools and Techniques of Geographically Dispersed Collaborative Design Via a Brief Student Project

Andrew P. Murray, Jon M. Stevens, Waleed W. Smari, University of Dayton


Engineering design collaborations with personnel and resources distributed throughout the globe, once experimental and cutting-edge, are becoming the standard operating procedure for many companies. Graduating engineers now enter a business environment that requires a sophisticated understanding of collaborative design and the powerful new technologies that make it possible. Traditional activities like face-to-face meetings are being altered and even replaced by a suite of synchronous and asynchronous tools that integrate communications, brainstorming, scheduling, project management, and many other aspects of the design process. The University of Dayton, with three partner schools in Ohio, is preparing students to effectively respond to the new and unique challenges of these environments. One goal of this work is a course featuring interdisciplinary, multi-university engineering design projects with strong emphases on both modern internet-based collaboration tools and successful distributed design.

Between the 5th and 14th of July, 2000, we executed a pilot design project implementing a geographically dispersed collaborative protocol. We assembled a small group of students into a distributed design team and assigned a rudimentary project via an audio chat session. Most team members were prohibited from face-to-face interaction during the ten-day period. To communicate and share data, they were required to use either the set of collaborative tools installed on each member’s personal computer or a telephone. Only two team members were allowed face-to-face interaction and to gain access to the actual design site. No other team members had first hand access to the design site; all information about the site had to come via the two team members’ investigations and posting of the resulting information to the project’s web site. This paper presents the results of the design project, an overview of the collaborative tools used, observations about executing design under this new protocol, and future directions for this work.

1. Introduction

A collaborative environment exists when a design team can create a product or system by fluidly integrating each team member’s knowledge and good ideas into the evolving design. That these teams require excellent resources and training goes without saying. The pinnacle of a collaborative environment is a design team that simultaneously addresses design, manufacturing, environmental impact, marketing and economic issues, just to name a few. A geographically

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Smari, W., & Stevens, J., & Murray, A. (2001, June), Learning The Tools And Techniques Of Geographically Dispersed Collaborative Design Via A Brief Student Project Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9507

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