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Project-Based Learning (PBL) in the First-Year Engineering Design Class

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Design in the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Emine Celik Foust York College of Pennsylvania

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Emine Celik Foust is currently an Associate Professor at York College of Pennsylvania. In 2008, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Mechanical Engineering Department at Johns Hopkins University. She received her Master of Science and Ph.D degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University.

Emine Celik Foust's research interests include design and development of engineering systems using analytical and experimental approaches (advanced global imaging techniques). Areas of applications include flow-induced vibrations, flow around bluff bodies, airfoils, perforated plates, cavity configurations, and biomedical devices.

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Engineering Practice and Design Studio (EPADS) is a freshman year engineering design class. It is a two credit class required for all engineering majors. In fall semester, 137 students registered for this class. There are eight sections available and each section typically has eighteen students. The main goals of this class are to teach students major specific skills and design process, and also to educate students on different engineering majors available at the institution such as mechanical, civil, electrical and computer engineering. To achieve these goals, engineering faculty decided to divide the fall semester into two seven-week modules. These modules are split between mechanical/civil engineering and electrical/computer engineering. This paper mainly focuses on the structure of the mechanical/civil engineering module and the changes implemented to that module over the recent years. The mechanical/civil module consists of three main components: computer aided design (CAD), machine shop, and a design project. Students learn how to use SolidWorks, shop safety and skills, wood fabrication, and basic metal working. In addition, students work as a team on a design project. Since 2013, students have been working on seven week-long hands-on design projects. Two types of projects are implemented: one with a community partner and one without. The first project explores different ways to transfer the energy from falling water. The second project is design of a little free library in collaboration with local community. In this paper, those two projects will be explained in detail and samples of student work will be provided. In addition, survey results, faculty observations, and future recommendations will be included.

Foust, E. C. (2021, July), Project-Based Learning (PBL) in the First-Year Engineering Design Class Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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