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Linking Student Initiated Projects To Engineering Design Education

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Design for Community

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.828.1 - 8.828.10



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Paper Authors

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Hanna Lee

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Sven Bilen

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Robert Pangborn

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

Session 2625

Linking Student-Initiated Projects to Engineering Design Education

Sven G. Bilén, Robert N. Pangborn, and Hanna Lee

College of Engineering The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802

1. Introduction

The engineering design process is paramount to the practice of engineering; hence, engineering programs have made increasing commitments to teaching design as part of design courses, particularly capstone design classes. In the engineering colleges of most universities, however, there exists a largely untapped resource for providing formalized design experience, that being the student-initiated design project. These design projects, oftentimes highly competitive in nature, are initiated and managed by student chapters of engineering societies as well as teams of students that form temporarily to meet a certain goal. Examples of such team projects include Solar Car, SAE Formula One Racing, and Concrete Canoe, to name but a few. These design projects can and do equip students with many of the abilities that industry desires in the new engineering graduate, such as ability to address a customer’s real needs, effective time management, experience with integrated product development/concurrent engineering, effective communication skills, thorough understanding of current design tools, and sense of the total business equation. These projects also provide the student with “hands-on” experience in “real- world” engineering problems and are often very interdisciplinary in nature. Unfortunately, because of their extra-curricular nature, it is often difficult to link them formally to educational goals or integrate them into the formal engineering design curricula.

The ABET definition of engineering design is “the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs.”1 The design-related requirements that ABET places on U.S. engineering programs for accreditation state that a curriculum must include most of the following features: • development of student creativity; • use of open-ended problems; • development and use of modern design theory and methodology; • formulation of design problem statements and specifications; • consideration of alternative solutions; • feasibility considerations;

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society from Engineering Education

Lee, H., & Bilen, S., & Pangborn, R. (2003, June), Linking Student Initiated Projects To Engineering Design Education Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11913

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