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Simulating An Industrial Experience Through Role Play For Students Enrolled In A Rural Mechanical Engineering Technology Program.

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Mechanical Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1078.1 - 13.1078.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Christopher Tomasi Alfred State College

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

Simulating an Industrial Experience through Role-Play for Students Enrolled in a Rural Mechanical Engineering Technology Program. Abstract

For many students, the end of the fourth semester in a mechanical engineering technology curriculum heralds an awaking in their abilities as fledgling mechanical designers or technologists. Armed with an understanding of basic engineering principles they are eager to spend the summer gaining that all important “first industrial experience”. However, for some students here in rural upstate New York, it can indeed be an arduous endeavor to locate an organization willing to facilitate a temporary entry level position for the summer. It is indeed a fortunate student that is able to find gainful employment in a technical field and return to college in the fall with a new appreciation for the term “real word industrial experience”.

Through a sincere desire to afford a value added experience for the students enrolled in a Mechanical Engineering Technology curriculum, an independent study course was developed with a rather unique aspect. The intent of this independent study was to function like an internship where the professor would role-play the position of engineering manager for a small mechanical design company. Students interested in participating in the course were required to submit a resume and schedule an interview time with the engineering manager. Several position vacancies were posted and students were encouraged to apply for one of the positions within the company. Seven students were “hired” to facilitate a variety of different functions within the organization. Since a variety of individuals with varying degrees of academic experience applied for positions within the company, the company was structured such that everyone would find it challenging. The freshman and sophomore students would function as drafters, the juniors and seniors were expected to work as designers and project engineers. Role- playing a technical position in this manner affords students an opportunity to refine their ability to interpret customer specifications, make the required design decisions, and communicate their conclusions technically, mathematically and graphically.

In order for academics to provide the requisite skills and abilities that industrial constituents require from graduates of engineering technology curriculums, students must be able to analyze and validate a host of considerations during the product design and development phase of a component. This should not be limited to interpreting design requirements and customer specifications, but should also include exposure to applicable codes and standards, intended and un-intended mode of product usage, hazards of human and non-human origin, ethical concerns, and any internal or external influences on the design team that might impact the final product’s design. Role-playing an industrial scenario provides an excellent opportunity for students to develop these skills which are essential for employment in an ever-changing global electronic community.

Tomasi, C. (2008, June), Simulating An Industrial Experience Through Role Play For Students Enrolled In A Rural Mechanical Engineering Technology Program. Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3158

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