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Promoting Innovation in a Junior-level, Multidisciplinary, Electro-Mechanical Design Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Design I

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Wesley L. Stone Western Carolina University

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Dr. Wes Stone is an associate professor in the School of Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. He earned his bachelors degree from the University of Texas at Austin, masters degree from Penn State, and PhD from Georgia Tech, all in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include manufacturing processes, quality techniques, and outdoor gear manufacturing. He also serves as the program director for Engineering Technology at WCU.

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Robert Scott Pierce P.E. Western Carolina University

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Robert Scott Pierce is an Assistant Professor of Engineering and Technology at Western Carolina University. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1993. Prior to his teaching career, he spent 14 years in industry designing automated equipment.

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Sudhir Kaul Western Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kaul is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Western Carolina University. His research interests include Fracture Diagnostics, Structural Dynamics and Control, and Motorcycle Dynamics.

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Junior students in engineering and engineering technology programs at Western Carolina University (WCU) take a multidisciplinary design course as a key component of their four-year project-based learning (PBL) sequence. The course is designed to capitalize on the students’ diverse technical backgrounds and build on the skills they developed in the freshman- and sophomore-level PBL courses. The junior-level course, ENGR 350 (Engineering Principles and Practices III), hosts students from all four undergraduate programs in the school, spanning electrical and mechanical realms. ENGR 350 is in its fifth academic year and introduces students to the product development process by allowing them to design, build, and test alpha prototypes that are student-generated ideas. Students propose ideas that are electro-mechanical in nature; they are grouped into teams; and they go through the product development cycle of a subset of the project ideas. Not only has this course become an outstanding opportunity to assess each program at a common point, it has served as a key feeder to the senior capstone project, a two-semester sequence that is industry sponsored. Projects that have been implemented in ENGR 350 have been wide-ranging in nature, such as a motor-driven fishing reel for anglers with the use of one arm; an inexpensive water-filtration system for countries with water challenges; a self-propelled longboard (skateboard) with braking capability; a flounder-gigging pole designed for night use; an emergency cell phone charger that is shaker-activated; autonomous robots for regional competitions; and a bicycle-powered lighted safety device for bikers. In addition to its key role in the PBL course sequence, this ENGR 350 course has satisfied a need expressed by the school’s Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC), which meets annually to provide feedback on the engineering and engineering technology programs. The IAC had encouraged WCU to promote innovation in multidisciplinary engineering design. The ENGR 350 course was in its infancy at the time, and has developed into a strong example of what the IAC had requested.

Stone, W. L., & Pierce, R. S., & Kaul, S. (2018, June), Promoting Innovation in a Junior-level, Multidisciplinary, Electro-Mechanical Design Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30907

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