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Machine Design: Different Pedagogical Approaches to Achieve Targeted Outcomes

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 9

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Robert Scott Pierce P.E. Western Carolina University

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Robert Scott Pierce is an Assistant Professor of Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina University. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1993. Prior to his teaching career, he spent 14 years in industry designing automated equipment.

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Rungun Nathan Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rungun Nathan is an associate professor and program chair for mechanical engineering in the division of engineering at Penn State Berks. He got his BS from University of Mysore, DIISc from Indian Institute of Science, MS from Louisiana State University and PhD from Drexel University. He has worked in the area of Electronic Packaging in C-DOT (India) and then as a Scientific Assistant in the Robotics laboratory at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. He worked as a post-doc at University of Pennsylvania in the area of Haptics and Virtual Reality. His research interests are in the areas of unmanned vehicles particularly flapping flight, mechatronics, robotics, MEMS, virtual reality and haptics, and teaching with technology. He has ongoing research in flapping flight, Frisbee flight dynamics, lift in porous material and brain injury He is an active member of ASEE and ASME and reviewer for several ASME, IEEE and ASEE, FIE conferences and journals.

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William E. Howard East Carolina University

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William E (Ed) Howard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. He was previously a faculty member at Milwaukee School of Engineering and a design and project engineer with Thiokol Corporation, Spaulding Composites Company, and Sta-Rite Industries.

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Brian Sylcott East Carolina University

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Most undergraduate Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanical Concentration curricula include a junior-level course on the topic of machine design. The content of this course has its roots in academic research in solid mechanics, mechanisms and machine elements. Textbooks for the course focus heavily on the derivation and application of methods used to analyze and predict failure of individual machine elements such as shafts, bearings, gears and some other components like springs, rivets, and fasteners. The content of most machine design courses reflect this emphasis on analytical methods. Outcomes for these courses focus on the ability of the student to predict failure of machine elements subjected to variety of different loading conditions. This emphasis is reasonable since the ability to predict failure of individual machine elements is arguably the most important outcome for this course. While a focus on analytical methods should enhance students’ ability to predict failure in machine elements, achievement of this outcome may come at the expense of other important outcomes. These include the ability to use computer-aided engineering tools such as finite-element analysis, the ability to think at the systems-level, or the ability to select off-the-shelf components from vendor catalogs. All of these outcomes are important in the practice of machine design and all utilize skills that are best learned through experience. For this reason, many instructors have begun to include project-based assignments in their machine design courses. A well-designed project can simulate the experience of working as a machine design engineer. This gives students the chance to apply their newly-learned analytical skills and to develop the experience-based skills that are important to the practice of machine design. In this work, we compare different pedagogical approaches to teaching machine design. The authors teach machine design at three different regional, comprehensive public universities with similar student populations. The pedagogical approach in the different courses ranges from the classic, analysis-focused approach to a strongly project-based approach. We discuss and compare the different approaches in terms of the use of class time, assessment methods, and desired outcomes. We present and discuss data on achievement of outcomes from course assessment and from student surveys. We combine and present the ABET outcomes assessed in this course at the individual institutions. We conclude by presenting relationships between course content, instructional approach, and outcomes achieved.

Keywords: Machine design, Project based, Mechanical system [1] Le, X.L., Duva, A.W., Jackson, M., “The Balance of Theory, Simulation and Projects for Mechanical Component Design Course,” Proceedings of the 121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June, 2014.

[2] Monterrubio, L.E., Sirinterlikci, A., “A Hands-on Approach in Teaching Machine Design,” Proceedings of the 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June, 2015.

[3] Malak, P.W., Nagurka, M.L., “Machine Design Experiments Using Mechanical Springs to Foster Discovery Learning,” Proceedings of the 121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June, 2014.

Pierce, R. S., & Nathan, R., & Howard, W. E., & Sylcott, B. (2018, June), Machine Design: Different Pedagogical Approaches to Achieve Targeted Outcomes Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30780

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