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Setting The Multidisciplinary Scene: Engineering Design And Communication In The “Hoistinator” Project

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering by Design II

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1112.1 - 10.1112.11



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Paper Authors

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Linda Head

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

Setting the Multidisciplinary Scene: Engineering Design and Communication in the “Hoistinator” Project

E. Constans, J. Courtney, K. Dahm, J. Everett, C. Gabler, R. Harvey, L. Head, D. Hutto, H. Zhang

Rowan University 201 Mullica Hill Rd., Glassboro, NJ 08028

Abstract Rowan University’s COE offers students an exciting and innovative technical communication and design curricula. All engineering students, at the beginning of their sophomore year, enroll in Sophomore Clinic, the second year of Rowan’s unique Clinic program. While all four years of Rowan’s clinic curricula are multidisciplinary, Sophomore Clinic I provides the students with the opportunity to experience a collaborative environment where a team of communications and engineering faculty work together to educate students in the “real-world” environment of engineering design – an environment that addresses the skills of designer, planner, presenter, builder, team-leader, writer, evaluator, researcher – all in the context of a engineering-lab-based version of what most sophomore engineering students in other programs experience as Composition II.


Each year a project is chosen by the Rowan University faculty team around which to structure the Sophomore Clinic. For the past two years we have used a project that requires the students to design and implement a crane that is capable of lifting at least 200lb. This project was inspired by a project at Princeton for a design course taught by Professor Dan Nosenchuck. Because the emphasis is on the “real-world” environment of engineering design, it is not focused exclusively on the technical aspects of the engineering problem; rather, the students must embrace the full context in which engineering design is accomplished. They begin by investigating and writing about famous engineering disasters (in the hope that their crane won’t be one!), learning to prepare a literature review, and receiving instruction in structural analysis, failure analysis, life cycle analysis, economic analysis, and digital electronics. As the semester continues they learn the full meaning of doing all aspects of an engineering design project.

Course Structure

The Sophomore Clinic is a four semester hour course with two 75 minute lecture sessions and one 160 minute laboratory session each week. Faculty from the College of Communication are responsible for the lecture sessions and engineering faculty supervise the laboratory.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Head, L. (2005, June), Setting The Multidisciplinary Scene: Engineering Design And Communication In The “Hoistinator” Project Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14899

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