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Lessons Learned And Best Practices In Multidisciplinary Teamwork And Teaching Of A Small Product Realization Course

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

The Best of Interdisciplinary Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.859.1 - 9.859.9



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Paper Authors

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Ralph Ford

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Jana Goodrich

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

Session 1654

Lessons Learned and Best Practices in Multidisciplinary Teamwork and Teaching of a Small Product Realization Course Robert S. Weissbach, Jana G. Goodrich, Ralph M. Ford Penn State Erie, The Behrend College


The Small Product Realization course has been offered for two semesters (Spring 2003 & Fall 2003) at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. The course is 3 credits, meeting for 50 minutes 3 times a week. In addition to the scheduled class periods, the students spend one weekend at the beginning of the semester attending a seminar at an off-campus location. This weekend seminar is similar to that described by Swamidass and Bryant1, except in addition to having students work on team-related activities, there are also guest speakers who present their entrepreneurial activities, and the teams begin to concentrate on identifying a single product idea. For each offering, 3 teams of between 3-5 students were selected.

Course outcomes include being able to: • Understand and experience selected elements of the product realization process. • Demonstrate that students can function effectively on multidisciplinary teams. • Develop a complete business plan for the introduction of a new product. • Have a demonstrated understanding of intellectual property and ethical issues associated with new product development. The course is interdisciplinary in nature, with students in both the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SEET) as well as the Sam and Irene Black School of Business enrolling in the course and working together in teams. The course is taught by two faculty members in SEET (one engineering professor, one engineering technology professor), and one faculty member in the school of business. Much of the content is similar to that presented by Cagan, et. al.2 for their Integrated Product Development course, and by Lumsdaine3 for the ME 490 course. However, due to time constraints, teams are not required to construct and test a prototype. One engineering design text4 and one business plan text5 are the primary textbooks for the course. Currently, the course is taught without industrial sponsorship, to provide teams with more flexibility for brainstorming product ideas.

The course is separated into 6 main subject areas: • Project proposal o Team creation o Brainstorming o Market survey o Competitive and patent analysis • Specification development o Identifying marketing and engineering requirements o House of Quality “Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Ford, R., & Goodrich, J., & Weissbach, R. (2004, June), Lessons Learned And Best Practices In Multidisciplinary Teamwork And Teaching Of A Small Product Realization Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13920

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