June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Design in Engineering Education
23.1004.1 - 23.1004.19
Prototype Exemplars: The Path to Effective Design or to Design Fixation?AbstractAn investigation into the impact of the presence of a prototype exemplar in an introductorydesign experience is described. The design experience occurred early in an Introduction toEngineering course following a single lecture on the engineering design process. The design activity,necessarily simple at this stage, consisted of designing, building, and testing a drag racer, constructedfrom LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT parts and powered by a single rubber band. Studentsparticipating in the design experience were divided into two functional groups: laboratory sectionswhere a prototype exemplar was present and laboratory sections where no example was provided.Assessment of the prototype exemplar impact was accomplished through a two-pronged approach.First, through photographs and performance data taken at multiple stages in the design experienceand analyzed by the faculty, and second, through a twelve-statement survey given to all students. Inaddition to assigning numerical values (on a scale from 1 to 6) for their responses to the surveystatements, students were asked to respond with short, written statements.This study is in its second year. Survey results from the first year indicated similar backgroundsbetween control and exemplar groups as well as similar internal team interaction. First year surveyresults also indicated that the prospect of an example (control group) had greater value than theexemplar group valued the actual example.At the end of the initial design phase and two subsequent redesign phases, photographic evidencewas evaluated to determine the presence of five distinct features of the prototype exemplar: three ofthe features were functional and two features essentially cosmetic. While the primary purpose of thephotographic evidence is to determine whether the presence of a prototype exemplar leads to betterfinal designs or to student fixation on particular design features, the data will be evaluated todetermine any correlations between feature presence and performance. First year photographicevidence proved somewhat inconclusive due primarily to inconsistencies in data collectionprocedures and inconsistencies in design constraint communication to the student groups. Secondyear improvements in each of those areas have been put into place. Primary second-year datacollection is occurring September 17-20, 2012.
Schubert, T. F., & Jacobitz, F. G., & Morse, M. S., & Ngo, T. T. (2013, June), Prototype Exemplars: The Path to Effective Design or to Design Fixation? Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22389
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