Asee peer logo

Teaching Engineering Analysis Through a Stand-Alone Junior Project Course in a Multidisciplinary, Project-Based Engineering Program

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Technical Session

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1389.1 - 22.1389.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Pavlos George Mikellides Arizona State University

author page

Chen-Yuan Kuo Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

Download Paper |


Teaching Engineering Analysis Through a Stand-Alone Junior Project Course in a Multidisciplinary, Project-Based Engineering Program Abstract Project-based learning (PBL) follows an inductive learning approach by which students are taughtto undertake a materials self-study after the need has been identified through a project’s context. It hasbeen used in many senior capstone and freshman design courses to enhance students’ competence indesign and other outcomes required by ABET. In most engineering programs, engineering analysis isstill taught mainly through sequences of traditional lecture-based courses. PBL, if adopted, usually isembedded in various courses that focus on specific technical areas to facilitate the learning process.Compared with independent project courses, such embedded PBL approach usually faces morerestrictions on its open-ended nature, project selection and technical topics covered. This paper presentsthe results of a study on the effectiveness of teaching engineering analysis in a stand-alone projectcourse as a part of the curriculum of a multidisciplinary undergraduate engineering program that has anindependent project course in every semester. In addition to addressing outcomes usually emphasized in other project courses, such as design,communication, teaming, etc., the critical technical issues involved in the design and trajectory of asolid propellant rocket were identified at the beginning of the project course. Then, the instructorscovered the related technical topics, such as dynamics, stability and aerodynamic forces, before thestudents were introduced to the details of the project assignment. In this manner the approachdistinguishes a portion during which topics are discussed based on the traditional predominantlytheoretical instruction and a subsequent portion during which students explicitly apply such topics tothe design, construction and operation of a solid rocket. The project was carefully designed such thatthe technical topics introduced early in the course have a direct application to the project, hence, it wasrequired that students go through detailed analysis when they conduct design, computer simulation andconstruction of their rockets based on those topics. Tests were administered before and after the projectso as to evaluate possible improvements in students’ understanding of the major technical topics due totheir hands-on project experience and distinguish from the traditional instruction method. Since anengineering project usually involves more technical issues than those covered in a traditionalengineering analysis course, the teaching approach presented in this paper provides a broad, flexiblecontextualized alternative to cover technical competence that is different from traditional engineeringprograms which are made up of structured sequences of lecture-based and laboratory courses.

Mikellides, P. G., & Kuo, C. (2011, June), Teaching Engineering Analysis Through a Stand-Alone Junior Project Course in a Multidisciplinary, Project-Based Engineering Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18893

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015