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Engineering Design & Society is a multidisciplinary course focused on hands-on learning through human-centered design (HCD) principles intended for first-year engineering students. The course is held in a makerspace-like classroom, where engineering students learn to use basic prototyping tools and methods. The course begins with two weeks on HCD, then six weeks of learning various prototyping technical skills, followed by a final six weeks of integrating these skills while working as teams to research, design, and build a functional physical prototype to address a human-centered societal need. HCD principles are threaded throughout the course and students engage with a HCD process to create the final prototype designs. Student teams prepare formal design reports and give presentations on their functional prototypes. This work focuses on an analysis of student perceptions of the value they attributed to various ideation and prototyping tools utilized in the introductory engineering design course. The central research question for this exploratory work is: What design course ideation and prototyping tools helped students understand the engineering profession best? The primary ideation tools covered in class included: Flowcharts, Decision Matrix, Empathy Mapping Tool, Engineering Design Notebooks, and Team Markerboards. The prototyping tools used in the class included: Arduino Starter Kits, Tinkercad Circuits Software, Onshape Solid Modeling Software, 3D Printers, and Hand Tools/Power Tools. This exploratory study used multi-method approaches to explore first quantitatively, which ideation tools and prototyping tools students ranked as being most important to facilitating learning about engineering in this introductory design course. Then, written reflective responses examined students' qualitative descriptions and feedback to help clarify their reasoning behind their ranking choices. This exploratory study sheds light into how introductory engineering design course ideation and prototyping tools could influence students’ perceptions.
Dickrell, P., & Waisome, J., & Virguez, L., & Goncher, A., & Villanueva, I. (2022, August), Student Perceptions of Ideation and Prototyping Tools in an Introductory Engineering Human-Centered Design Course Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/41503
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