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Linkages Of Undergraduate Students With Industry: The Mmo Connections Program At The University Of Toronto

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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

Trends in ME Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.870.1 - 9.870.8



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Paper Authors

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James Mills

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William Cleghorn

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

Session 1566

Linkages of Undergraduate Students with Industry: The MMO Connections Program at the University of Toronto

W. L. Cleghorn and J.K. Mills Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department University of Toronto


This paper presents an initiative instituted in 1990 at the University of Toronto, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering whereby students in their final year study take on a thesis that has practical significance with local industries. This initiative, entitled the Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) Connections Program, has the central objective to collaborate with industry in the definition of a real problem of relevance to that industry, and to subsequently introduce this problem to senior year undergraduate engineering students for resolution.

The MMO Connections Program facilitates the opportunity for talented students to work on these real- industrial problems, and as a result, both parties benefit. The MMO Connections Program therefore predominantly is one of technology transfer.

History of the MMO Connections Program

In 1990, when the MMO Connections Program was initiated, the undergraduate curriculum focused heavily on technical subjects with little formal attention to writing and communication skills. Additionally, exposure to real world industrial problems was not common amongst the undergraduate students. It was recognized that here has been an increasing need for students graduating with engineering degrees to improve their design and communication skills. Additionally, it was also recognized that there was little opportunity for interaction with engineering staff involved in engineering activity within an industry. Such interaction provides many opportunities to learn basic skills involving meeting schedules, setting deadlines, meeting expectations, use of various modes of communication, email, phone, etc.

To support a learning environment in which many of the above essential skills could be learned, as well as experience real-world engineering problems, an application was made to the Manufacturing Research Corporation of Ontario (MRCO), subsequently renamed Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) to provide funding for projects with industry, which would simultaneously serve as Fourth Year Undergraduate Thesis Projects. The MMO is primarily a research funding organization, with a mandate to support the training of highly qualified personnel, hence the MMO initiative is consistent with the overall MMO mandate.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 82004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Mills, J., & Cleghorn, W. (2004, June), Linkages Of Undergraduate Students With Industry: The Mmo Connections Program At The University Of Toronto Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12853

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