Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Before a recent curriculum change for 1st and 2nd year students, Mechanical Engineering students at South Dakota State University did not see Mechanical Engineering faculty and did not necessarily attend courses with only mechanical engineering students until their 4th semester. Most courses taken during this time fulfilled either general science and mathematics course requirements for engineering students or general university requirements. Problems with retention and gaining student interest early in the program led to the creation of three new courses for 1st and 2nd year Mechanical Engineering students. In the first semester, students take the course “Production and Manufacturing Processes”. The goal of this course is to teach the basics of manual milling and turning, CNC milling and turning, welding, and injection molding/casting. Each student gets hands-on experience working with shop/lab equipment. In the 2nd semester, students enroll in “Mechanical Engineering Design Technologies”. This course focuses on developing skills in 3d CAD modeling (Solidworks), spreadsheet calculations (Excel), and scientific computations (Matlab). The last new course, “Engineering Design Methods”, taken in the 4th semester, focuses on design projects specifically formulated to allow the students to practice new skills gained in courses from the first three semesters. While enough data is not yet available to quantify changes in retention rates, anecdotal evidence shows that the students retained to the 3rd year are more engaged in coursework and extracurricular activities, more knowledgeable, and, most importantly, have good attitudes and are ready to learn in future courses.
Letcher, T., & Michna, G. J., & VerSteeg, J. D., & Michna, S. M. (2018, June), Stimulating Interest in First-Year Mechanical Engineering Students through Design Modeling/Analysis and CNC Manufacturing Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30994
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