June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.1118.1 - 14.1118.14
Systems Engineering in Undergraduate Education: An Activities, Project, Problem-Based Learning Approach
Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary collaborative process by which a customer’s needs are satisfied through the conceptualization, design, modeling, testing, implementation, verification, and operation of a working system. It provides a focus that enables practicing engineers to integrate their specialties in the development of complex products and processes. Systems engineering concepts are extremely important to industry. As companies or organizations bring new products to market, whether it is a small standalone widget or a large-scale “system of a system,” a systems approach in design is omnipresent throughout a broad cross-section of industries today.
Formally teaching systems engineering to undergraduate students is somewhat controversial. Some educators with an industrial background have suggested that a true systems engineering approach can only come with years of industrial experience. A cursory look around the country indicates that a handful of institutions offer a BS program in systems engineering, many are computer oriented, management slanted or exclusively online programs.
Whether or not there should be an entire undergraduate program devoted to systems engineering can be debated. However, engineering students can be exposed to the concepts of systems engineering in mainstream engineering classes throughout their undergraduate education. This paper describes one approach to introduce the concepts of systems engineering to students in a junior-level fluid mechanics course through the student’s participation in a team-oriented class project. The model used for student learning is an activities, project, and problem-based Learning approach. A survey of student perceptions concerning systems engineering before and after the course is presented.
Systems Engineering Around the Country According to the International Council on Systems Engineering1 there are 69 programs in the United States that offer a mix of bachelors, masters, doctoral level and certificate programs in systems engineering and systems engineering management. A Wikipedia search2 identified an additional 20 programs that had the term systems engineering in the title. A cursory look at these programs indicates that many are online, computer oriented, or with a management slant, i.e., more MBA oriented than technical engineering. It is interesting to note that the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology does not have a curricular discipline in systems engineering.
Using a systems engineering approach in the undergraduate capstone experience as well as in pre-college has been reported. Details of this approach are applied to a BSEE
Brower, T. (2009, June), Systems Engineering In Undergraduate Education: An Activities , Project , And Problem Based Learning Approach Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4651
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