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Re Engineering Open Ended Problems & Computer Simulations For Effective Development Of Student Design Skills

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.475.1 - 3.475.23

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Paper Authors

author page

S. A. Tennyson

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R. J. Eggert

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2525

Re-Engineering Open-ended Problems & Computer Simulations For Effective Development of Student Design Skills

R. J. Eggert and S. A. Tennyson Boise State University Boise, Idaho 83725

ABSTRACT Considering the broad philosophy of Design Across the Curriculum (DAC), a variety of strategies can be employed to integrate engineering design coursework during the four-year curriculum using just-in-time learning, an increasing breadth-then-depth approach. The sophomore and junior years, in particular, can be used to reinforce introductory design activities experienced as a freshman, and to develop enhanced design skills, readying students for senior design and eventual practice.

New multi-media courseware, such as Bedford & Fowler’s Engineering Mechanics (1995) which incorporates Working Model© simulations, utilizes prepared learning modules to simulate the behavior or performance of bodies subjected to various forces and moments. While these simulations are $open-ended# they have little, if any, design content. Rather, what is needed, is an overall context, a firm foundation of how open-ended problems and simulations serve the whole design process.

This paper describes one dynamics example as prepared by Bedford & Fowler and a custom module that models a bungee jumper. Then, the educational aspects of these examples are discussed in the context of design content. A framework of guidelines is presented for educators, including the example bungee jumper problem reconstituted for enhanced design skill development.

1.0 INTRODUCTION What is an open-ended problem? What is a design problem? Is there a difference? What role does simulation play in open-ended problem solving, or in the design process? How can engineering science problems be posed as design problems? In general, where and how should design fit into the four-year curriculum?

The engineering faculty at Boise State University considered these aspects and others during the spring of 1996, as we designed the 131-semester credit hour curriculum for the Mechanical Engineering Department recently chartered by the state of Idaho (1995).

While ABET specifies minimum criteria for four year engineering programs, the Mechanical Engineering faculty agreed to exceed these minimum requirements. Namely, we agreed to develop and deliver appropriate, high quality and comprehensive course work exceeding the minimum requirements for ABET accreditation, especially with regards to Design and how to integrate design across the curriculum. The essential aspect of DAC is that “…. Design cannot

Tennyson, S. A., & Eggert, R. J. (1998, June), Re Engineering Open Ended Problems & Computer Simulations For Effective Development Of Student Design Skills Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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