June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.1031.1 - 22.1031.12
Making a College-Level Multidisciplinary Design Program Work and Understanding the OutcomesAbstractA Midwestern University’s College of Engineering (CoE) has committed to a significantMultidisciplinary Design (MD) Program as part of implenting three co-curricular programs ascomplements to the bachelor degree programs (along with Entrepreneurial and InternationalPrograms). This enables students from across degree programs and even outside of the CoE tocollaborate as appropriate. As an institution with strong emphasis on research, large studentpopulations, and a graduate to undergraduate student ratio of approximately 1:2, this engineeringprogram must address two important challenges: (1) scalability: the CoE currently enrolls nearly5500 undergraduate students, and (2) breadth of programs: the CoE currently offers 15 academicbachelor degrees. The Multidisciplinary Design Program puts students from a range ofdisciplines to work on significant, open-ended, real world multidisciplinary design projects thatinclude design, build and test (DBT) elements. This is currently being done by flexiblyaddressing instructional and practicum needs through a minor and developing ways to trackperformance of the program and students. Our next step is working to infuse lessons learned in tobroader curricula of our bachelor degree programs and connecting with masters-level programsas well so as to reach more students and touch all programs.As multidisciplinary design teaching is initiated we need to seek objective means of evaluatingthe learning experience so that we can more quickly refine the experience. Initial studies of smallnumbers of students using constant comparative methods (Cuba & Lincoln, 1998) show some ofthe strengths and weaknesses of the learning experience. For example, we recently completed astudy of students who were currently engaged in or previously engaged in multidisciplinarydesign team experiences outside of the classroom. This type of experience is central to the MDminor, thus our work targeted a better understanding of the nature of students’ work and theoutcomes of their work with respect to their own development. This work included in-depthinterviews on how students processed through their projects, the ways they interacted with theirteammates from different majors, how they conceptualized the act of designing, and what factorscontributed to their growth as multidisciplinary designers. This work revealed features of theexperience that the program will continue to facilitate and develop further, for example, theprocess of testing designs in context, and iterating and rebuilding designs based on data fromtrials. Additionally, the study provided direction for program development, including morestructured opportunities for students to reflect and strategize with other students on differentmultidisciplinary teams.We intend to present both a review of the challenges of implementing the MD Program as wellas our efforts to measure and understand its impact on our students and graduates.
Daly, S. R., & Bell, H., & Gilchrist, B. E., & Hohner, G. S., & Holloway, J. P. (2011, June), Making a College-Level Multidisciplinary Design Program Effective and Understanding the Outcomes Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18312
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