New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Design in Engineering Education
Proposal-Based Learning for Freshman Introduction to Engineering
Creation and Implementation of Proposal-Based Learning in a freshman introductory engineering course is described. The course introduces project-defining skills for use in a sequence of engineering design courses taken later in the undergraduate program. Proposal-Based Learning is similar to Project-Based Learning, and is comprised of the following elements: 1) requires a response to an open-ended challenge; 2) creates a need to know essential technical, schedule and budgetary content; 3) requires inquiry to learn and/or create something new; 4) requires critical thinking and problem solving; 5) requires identifying patentable aspects of the proposed solution; 6) results in a publicly presented performance; and 7) requires interpretation of customer requirements based on sparse information. This last element was given particular emphasis, as it is often overlooked in undergraduate engineering programs, yet frequently leads to unsuccessful proposal submissions due to misreading or poor internalization of customer needs. Each student group of two to five members was required to generate a unique technical proposal in response to a Request For Proposal (RFP) or Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) supplied by the instructor. The format selected for the RFP or BAA is widely used in the engineering profession. The proposal topic choices were guided by the need to: stimulate the interest of students pursuing a variety of engineering disciplines; provide deliberately vague design constraints to introduce students to the challenge of interpreting the intentions of the RFP or BAA; encourage individual creative content in the proposed solution; and adjust the technical challenge to be accessible to students with no previous engineering courses. A preliminary design review with peers and the instructor provided valuable feedback to each group, with sufficient time allotted for design changes.
The learning outcomes were assessed using proposal quality, compliance with RFP or BAA specifications, judging by an outside panel of engineering and technology professionals, and student surveys. Several patentable concepts resulted from a total of 53 proposals responding to three RFP’s and one BAA. The challenges of implementing the instructional framework are discussed, along with recommendations for improvements.
Carpenter, M., & Micher, L. E., & Yakymyshyn, C., & Vargas, J., & Drake, C. (2016, June), Proposal-Based Learning for Freshman Introduction to Engineering Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26009
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