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Project Management In Freshman Engineering

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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

Teaching Design with a Twist

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.950.1 - 8.950.21

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Paper Authors

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Onofrio Russo

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Gunter Georgi

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Polytechnic University has continued to develop and implement new and innovative ideas to teach real world concepts to freshmen. The semester-long Independent Project for EG 1004, Introduction to Engineering and Design, teaches students the fundamentals of Engineering Project Management. A team of students must build an operational model, either a Robot or a Computer Controlled House, over an 11-week period. The independent project introduces concepts widely used in both the construction and manufacturing industries: Scope of Work, Tasks, and Deliverables. The project employs a number of computer programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, AutoCAD, RoboLab and LabVIEW. In addition, to simulate industrial conditions, all of these projects are managed using MS Project, a scheduling program. The students schedule all activities for an 11-week period from Brainstorming to Commissioning (final acceptance testing) of the robot or the house. The project focuses on the use of Milestones (tasks) in the project schedule. The most important Milestone is the Component Testing of the device at the semester’s mid point. The student teams must test a portion of their project to ensure that they understand how they are going to proceed and finish the project on time. The majority fails in this attempt. Failure stresses the process of Design, Construction, Test, and Redesign. By finding out what went right and fixing what went wrong, a more practical design is created. Component testing at mid-term leads to the successful completion of the project five weeks later. In keeping with industry practice regarding deliverables, if a team commissions a week early, they are awarded a Bonus (extra credit). If they are late, they are subject to Liquidated Damages (lost credit down to 0 if the project is late by two weeks). By structuring the Independent Design Project in this way, students are taught the project management fundamentals.

Russo, O., & Georgi, G. (2003, June), Project Management In Freshman Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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