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Sensors And Systems In A Freshman Design Course

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Assessing Design Coursework I

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1272.1 - 12.1272.11



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Paper Authors


Keith Sheppard Stevens Institute of Technology

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Keith Sheppard is a Professor of Materials Engineering and Associate Dean of Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He earned the B.Sc. from the University of Leeds, England and Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, England, both in Metallurgy. As Associate Dean, Sheppard is primarily responsible for undergraduate programs. He is a recent past Chair of the ASEE Design in Engineering Education Division.

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Edward Blicharz Stevens Institute of Technology

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Edward Blicharz is a Distinguished Service Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Stevens Institute of Technology. He is coordinator of core engineering design courses in Freshman & Sophomore years. Prior to his current position, Blicharz worked for 25 years in project management and systems engineering in the aerospace & telecommunications industries. He has a B.E in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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Bernard Gallois Stevens Institute of Technology

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Bernard Gallois is George Meade Bond Professor of Engineering at Stevens Institute of
Technology, where he was the founding dean of the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of
Engineering. He received the Diplôme d' Ingénieur Civil des Mines at the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Nancy, France. He obtained the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in metallurgy and materials science from Carnegie Mellon University. He has been involved in major revisions of the engineering curriculum at Stevens since 1980 and has published several articles on engineering design.

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Rashmi Jain Stevens Institute of Technology

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Rashmi Jain is Associate Professor of Systems Engineering at Stevens Institute of
Technology. Dr. Jain has over 15 years of experience of working on socio-economic and
information technology (IT) systems. Dr. Jain is currently the Head of Education and Research for the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE). She teaches and does research in systems integration, systems design and architecture, and
rapid systems engineering. She holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.

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Ian Denholm Stevens Institute of Technology

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Ian Denholm is a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He earned a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Stevens in 2006. As a lead teaching assistant in Freshman design courses he has contributed to the content development.

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

Sensors and Systems in a Freshman Design Course


The second design course taken by all engineering Freshman was recently revised to build upon a first semester design course project in which sensors and programming (C++) are introduced in a robot challenge. In the second design course the students now have their programming knowledge extended to a graphical environment by learning LabVIEW™ through a series of assignments in which they interface various sensors to their laptop computers. Applications include a simple motor speed control using a shaft encoder. Students then use their knowledge in a team design project that incorporates data acquisition from sensors to a laptop computer, display of the sensor data and its use to control some aspect of the system to which it is applied. Teams are provided with design project choices, each posed as a set of system requirements. This together with mini-lectures and assignments continue a thread started in the first design course to develop systems concepts in the context of design. Development of students’ comfort and capacity with sensors and systems as a core thread early in their education provides an important foundation for future engineers.


Following a major revision in 1998, the engineering curriculum at Stevens Institute of Technology includes a design course in each of the eight semesters. This is collectively referred to as the Design Spine1. The first five are core design courses taken by students from all intended disciplines; the last three are taken in the discipline - a junior course followed by a 2-semester capstone senior year project. In most cases the core design courses are linked to concurrent engineering science courses, thus providing context for the latter. The Design Spine is a key vehicle to develop a number of threads that build both technical and so-called “soft” competencies. The latter include communications, creative thinking, teaming, economics of engineering, problem solving, project management etc. It should be noted that the first four design courses have been taught by adjunct engineers, either practicing or recently retired. They bring the benefit of their design experience into the classroom. A further curriculum revision in Fall 2005 provided the opportunity to completely revise Engineering Design II, taken in Freshman Year second semester. An objective for the revised course was to build upon the use of programming and sensors that was introduced to the Freshmen in Engineering Design I in the context of a robot project. It provided an opportunity to introduce graphical programming through LabVIEW which had previously not been addressed until the fourth design course in the sequence and then somewhat superficially. In providing this early emphasis on sensors and their interfacing through LabVIEW in a core design course it is intended to impress upon students the ubiquitous nature of sensors and systems for monitoring and control across the engineering spectrum. The revision of Design II also provided an opportunity to continue developing concepts of systems thinking initiated in Design I as described below and to further enhance other threads in teaming, creative thinking and communications.

Sheppard, K., & Blicharz, E., & Gallois, B., & Jain, R., & Denholm, I. (2007, June), Sensors And Systems In A Freshman Design Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1755

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