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Overcoming Problems In Mechanical Engineering Technology Education Through Innovative Projects

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Topics in Mechanical ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.979.1 - 9.979.7



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Paper Authors

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Saeed Foroudastan

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

Session 2547

Overcoming Problems in Mechanical Engineering Technology Education through Innovative Projects

Saeed D. Foroudastan, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies Department Middle Tennessee State University


Two of the biggest problems facing mechanical engineering technology programs are retaining freshmen students and adequately preparing graduating seniors for the real world. The reasons for these problems are simple. Freshmen students often become frustrated early in their college careers because they have to take so many classes yet not really know how they fit into the big scheme of things. Unless they have a family member or friend that is an engineer, many of them may not actually know exactly what exactly an engineer does. On the other hand, the biggest dilemma facing recent graduates is that although they may be proficient subject wise, they often lack real world experience.

Acknowledging these problems is only the first step, but the difficult task is coming up with solutions. Faculty members at Middle Tennessee State University feel that creating enthusiasm in the first year of college and properly training students for careers in engineering are two important ingredients to making a successful mechanical engineering technology program. MTSU has accomplished both of these goals by implementing multidimensional projects such as the solarbike, moonbuggy, and SAE formula one with the final goal of competing in national competitions. It is through these projects that students are able to see the big picture.

Freshmen students are paired with a senior mentor and together, these teams are required to complete all aspects of the project from the initial research and the design process to budgeting and manufacturing nearly everything from within the laboratory. In the end, the students are able to see the outcome of their projects by competing against top-notch universities in a national competition. Freshmen students complete the project as part of their fulfillments for the Introduction to Engineering Fundamentals course while seniors complete it for the design and capstone requirement. Nevertheless, these projects carry out a bigger purpose than meeting program requirements; they create enthusiasm in freshmen thus improving retention and simultaneously giving seniors real world experience that will give them an edge in their professions.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Foroudastan, S. (2004, June), Overcoming Problems In Mechanical Engineering Technology Education Through Innovative Projects Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13978

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