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Linking Design Activities Across Parallel First Year Engineering Courses

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

The Ever-Changing Course

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.852.1 - 14.852.12



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Paper Authors

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Gretchen Hein Michigan Technological University

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Jean Kampe Michigan Technological University

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Amber Kemppainen Michigan Technological University

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

Linking Design Activities across Parallel First Year Engineering Courses


How can instructors ensure linkages across alternate curriculum paths? To address this question, within Michigan Technological University’s first year engineering program, similar design activities were developed for use in two separate courses. This program has two parallel paths based on whether or not students are ready to take calculus. Students in the pre-calculus path take a three course sequence (ENG1001, ENG1100, and ENG1102) that allows more time to cover material but is equivalent to the path for calculus-ready students (ENG1101 and ENG1102). This paper will focus on the development and implementation of design activities that introduced students to material re-use and green engineering in ENG1001 (100 students) and ENG1101 (40 students). In both classes, students designed and constructed an object that contained some or only post-consumer materials (i.e., trash). The activities surrounding the designs were vastly different between the courses. In ENG1001, students created their designs as an initial team building activity. Many of the designs were entered in a competition to raise money for Pennies for Peace (an organization that builds schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan). The students completed a basic statistical analysis on the funds collected and summarized the results. In ENG1101, students were introduced to the engineering design process as they progressed through an eight-week, design/construct, team-based project that focused on green engineering. Design constraints for the project imposed a 50% lower limit on post-consumer materials used in construction, and the student teams were instructed to keep the environmental impact of their design very much in mind from the beginning of the design process and as they moved through to prototype construction. This green engineering approach was documented in team design reports that also required analyses on down-cycling, carbon footprint, and product end-of-life for the prototype constructed. The paper will present how these design activities impart to students skills that will be needed in ENG1102, as several design projects in this following first-year engineering course have students investigate opportunities for using waste from a manufacturing facility as a raw material for another process. Additionally, the paper will describe how these skills and experiences will be useful in their engineering academic and professional careers.

Introduction Since 2000, Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) has had a first-year engineering program. Within this program, entering students learn basic engineering and technical skills that are applicable to their engineering and professional careers. Through the completion of the first-year engineering courses, students gain, develop, and improve their skills in: Teamwork Written and oral technical communication (memos, reports, technical posters, technical presentations, etc.)

Hein, G., & Kampe, J., & Kemppainen, A. (2009, June), Linking Design Activities Across Parallel First Year Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5028

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