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Mini Design Projects: A Hands On Approach To Teaching Instrumentation Courses In Et Programs

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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

Instrumentation in the Classroom

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.854.1 - 8.854.13



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Paper Authors

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Eric Hansberry

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Guido Lopez

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

Session 3159

Mini-design projects; a Hands-on Approach to Teaching Instrumentation Courses in ET Programs.

Guido W. Lopez, Eric W. Hansberry School of Engineering Technology Northeastern University Boston, MA


Design is the central activity of engineering and the focus of undergraduate engineering education. Effective teaching and learning of underlying engineering science and the principles of engineering design can be readily accomplished in instrumentation courses, through the completion of mini- design projects relative to the measurement of common variables found in engineering systems, such as temperature, pressure, stress, fluid flow, motion, sound, etc. This paper presents and discusses typical examples of highly affordable mini-design projects that have been implemented and used during the instruction of engineering students in a standard introductory instrumentation course in the School of Engineering Technology at Northeastern University. These mini-design projects can be completed within the time constraints inherent to regular academic schedules, and provide students with an appreciation for the realities of engineering practice, in particular, those associated with time and money constrains. This teaching technique blends the perspectives of theoretical discussions in regular lectures and the subtleties encountered in the practice of engineering design. It seeks to develop proficiency through practice guided by concurrent knowledge and the recognizable dimensions and challenges of the engineering product development process. Using this educational approach, class assessment guided by the Technology Criteria 2000 (TC2K) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), effectively reflects satisfactory mastery of knowledge, and the desirable abilities students are expected to demonstrate, as established by TC2K.


It is known to practicing engineers and engineering educators that fundamental knowledge of science and mathematics, and the creative application of this knowledge in the design of systems, components and/or processes are two essential elements of the engineering profession. Engineers must have the ability to solve technical problems, master scientific knowledge, be creative, and apply the proper judgement to provide real solutions to real needs. The focus of engineering education is on the acquisition of knowledge through class lectures, personal study, engineering design and lab experimentation. Time constraints and costs associated with laboratories and design activity may prove to be challenging and often discouraging. Nonetheless, these factors can help to provide students with a concrete appreciation of the realities of the engineering field.

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

Hansberry, E., & Lopez, G. (2003, June), Mini Design Projects: A Hands On Approach To Teaching Instrumentation Courses In Et Programs Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12306

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