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Storytelling with Machines: Innovative Approach of Developing Creative Mindset and Teaching About Mechanisms Through Stories

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Mental Frameworks

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Shraddha Joshi James Madison University

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Dr. Shraddha Joshi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Joshi earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University with her research focused on understanding the role of requirements in engineering design by novices. Dr. Joshi received her MS in mechanical engineering from Clemson University and her BE in mechanical engineering from Nirma University, India. At Clemson, Dr. Joshi has worked on multiple industry sponsored research projects (Michelin tweel –low rolling resistance for non-pneumatic tires, IFAI ballast friction testing project). She was actively involved in mentoring and advising Capstone design projects. She has advised over 10 different design projects –BMW, Rotary, TTi and mentored over 100 students. While at Clemson, Dr. Joshi was also awarded endowed teaching fellowship as a part of which she has taught a sophomore class on Foundations of Mechanical Systems for 2 semesters.
Dr. Joshi worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow with Professor Jonathan Cagan at Carnegie Mellon University. She investigated the avenues of internet of things and connected products. While at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Joshi was also instructor for classes such as Mechanical Engineering Seminar, Capstone Design and Storytelling with Machines
Dr. Joshi’s areas of interest include requirements in design, conceptual design, engineering education, design representations, development of design tools and design research methods, internet of things and connected products.

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From calculators to tea-serving karakuri puppets, automata are the historical predecessors of modern-day computers and robots. These automata have been used for both amusing entertainment and tools for explaining scientific principles. To tap into the use of automata for explaining scientific principles, an innovative undergraduate technical elective was developed for the department of engineering at a public research university in Virginia. The details of this course are described in this paper. The objective of this course was to teach students about mechanical elements with the context of storytelling. This approach allowed for fostering a creative mindset in engineering students. In this course, the students learned about the basic elements of mechanical systems while emphasizing the underlying physical principles. Students developed an understanding of the working principles of elements such as linkages, cams, and gears, which generate and convey mechanical motion. In addition to studying these physical elements, the students also investigated the mechanics of storytelling, and explored the historical and creative relationship between automation and narrative. Through hands-on projects, students designed and fabricated basic machines that give life to stories of their own design.

Joshi, S. (2021, July), Storytelling with Machines: Innovative Approach of Developing Creative Mindset and Teaching About Mechanisms Through Stories Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37731

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