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Preliminary Findings From a Comparative Study of Two Bio-inspired Design Methods in a Second-year Engineering Curriculum

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division: Design Teams

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

18

DOI

10.18260/1-2--33187

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33187

Download Count

300

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Paper Authors

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Jacquelyn Kay Nagel James Madison University

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Dr. Jacquelyn K. Nagel is the Assistant Department Head and Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. She has eight years of diversified engineering design experience, both in academia and industry, and has experienced engineering design in a range of contexts, including product design, bio-inspired design, electrical and control system design, manufacturing system design, and design for the factory floor. Dr. Nagel earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and her M.S. and B.S. in manufacturing engineering and electrical engineering, respectively, from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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Christopher Stewart Rose James Madison University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4215-297X

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I do research on the development and evolution of amphibian anatomy and I teach courses on comparative anatomy of vertebrate animals, animal development, human development and evolution, scientific writing, and biology in the movies.

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Ramana M. Pidaparti University of Georgia

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Ramana Pidaparti, is currently a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at VCU. Dr. Pidaparti received his Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Purdue University, West Lafayette in 1989. In 2004, he joined the Virginia Commonwealth University as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He has taught previously at Purdue University campus in Indianapolis (IUPUI). He has taught several courses in design, mechanics of materials, optimization, and directed many interdisciplinary projects related to design. Dr. Pidaparti's research interests are in the broad areas of multi-disciplinary design, computational mechanics, nanotechnology, and related topics. Dr. Pidaparti has published over 250 technical papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Pidaparti received a Research Initiation Award from the National Science Foundation and the Young Investigator Award from the Whitaker Foundation. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Gamma Tau, and Who's Who societies. He is a member of professional societies including AIAA (Associate Fellow), AAAS (Fellow), ASME (Fellow), RAeS (Fellow), and ASEE (member). Dr. Pidaparti will move to University of Georgia in January 2014 as a professor of mechanical engineering.

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Elizabeth Marie Tafoya James Madison University

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Elizabeth Tafoya is a fourth year engineering student at James Madison University. In addition to engineering, Elizabeth also has a minor in geology. At JMU, she has participated in the Engineering Leadership Development Program to mentor first year engineering students and develop leadership skills. She has participated in bio-inspired design for Dr. J Nagel since the Spring of 2017 to further her interests in design processes.

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Peyton Leigh Pittman

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Wade Knaster James Madison University

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Wade Knaster is a senior engineering student at James Madison University. In his third year of study he began his research on teaching methods of bio-inspired design under the direction of Dr. Jacquelyn Nagel. When Wade is not studying or conducting research, he finds himself at the University Recreation Center as the Trips Logistical Manager for the Adventure Program. Wade plans to utilize his degree in the civil engineering field designing and analyzing America's infrastructure.

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Abstract

Shorter abstract: The engineer of 2020 is expected to not only offer technical ingenuity but also adapt to a continuously evolving environment while being able to operate outside the narrow limits of one discipline and be ethically grounded in solving the complex problems of the future. To address the competencies of the future engineer, undergraduate education must train students to not only solve engineering challenges that transcend disciplinary boundaries, but also communicate, transfer knowledge, and collaborate across technical and non-technical boundaries. One approach to train engineers in these competencies is teaching biomimicry or bio-inspired design in an engineering curriculum.

This research addresses the gap of resources for effectively teaching engineering students how to perform bio-inspired design through the creation of instructional resources based on design theory. Concept-Knowledge (C-K) Theory is the design theory used as the basis for the instructional resources including lectures, in-class activities, assignments, rubrics and templates. C-K theory is used as it is known for integrating multiple domains of information and facilitating innovation through connection building. The instructional resources scaffold the discovery and knowledge transfer processes such that the natural designs can be used to inspire engineering solutions.

To assess the learning impact of the C-K theory instructional approach to bio-inspired design a comparative design study was conducted. The C-K theory instructional approach was deployed in some sections of a second-year design course, while the other sections received the popular Biomimicry Institute (BI) design lens approach. A total of 105 students consented to participate in the research study. This paper reports on the preliminary analysis results from testing the hypothesis that the C-K approach would result in higher quality design concepts. It was found that the C-K approach group generated concepts that more closely resembled biological inspiration, meaning learning from nature to innovate rather than copying, and successfully abstracted biological system principles to create high quality concepts. Whereas the BI approach group generated concepts that more closely resembled biological imitation, which tended to fixate on observable features and produced concepts that look or act like the biological systems. The study findings provide conclusive evidence of learning impact and support design theory based bio-inspired design pedagogy.

Nagel, J. K., & Rose, C. S., & Pidaparti, R. M., & Tafoya, E. M., & Pittman, P. L., & Knaster, W. (2019, June), Preliminary Findings From a Comparative Study of Two Bio-inspired Design Methods in a Second-year Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33187

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015