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Teaching Engineering Design Concepts through a Multidisciplinary Control Project

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Laboratory Experiences in Signal Processing and Controls

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1142.1 - 23.1142.13



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Paper Authors


Ding Yuan Colorado State University - Pueblo

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Ding Yuan received the Bachelor of Engineering degree in industrial automation from Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, Liaoning, China, in 1998 and the Ph.D degree in Electrical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, in 2006. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

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Teaching Engineering Design Concepts Through A Multidisciplinary Control ProjectAbstractIt has been known that engineering design concepts are difficult to teach, evaluate and assess.Many researchers and educators recommended a project-based approach to enhance engineeringstudents’ understanding on these concepts, e.g. senior design projects. This paper describes thedesign and the implementation of a multidisciplinary project in two-sequential control courses toreinforce students’ understanding of engineering design concepts from a system point of view,and help them preparing the senior design capstone course as well as for their later career. In ourengineering program, the students are required to take one course on classical controls and thenanother one on digital controls. Both of them have lab sessions as co-requisites. Therefore, aproject has been designed in two phases as well. In Phase I of this project, the students formed inteams during the first couple of weeks. Then, each team began to develop possible mechanicaldesigns based on a given project idea. Such an idea was quite vague. The students had to collectenough information by asking the customer (i.e. the instructor, in this case) to further define it asa project description before drawing the first draft. They also had to adjust the design, ifnecessary, as they included more considerations, e.g. time, budget and possible part selections,etc. This stage may last for several weeks and go through several iterations. It gave the instructoran opportunity to address engineering design concepts and the corresponding procedure. When adesign was approved, the team ordered the parts, assembled them and tested the mechanicaldesign. At the same times, coordinating with the classical control theory covered in the lecturesessions, the instructor leaded discussion on how to model their design in MATLAB/Simulinkand how to analyze the system characteristics. In Phase II of this project, each team designed andimplemented a digital compensator in NI LabVIEW to fulfill the performance objectives. Duringthis phase, an electrical design, such as low filters or current amplifiers, may be neededdepending on the mechanical design and the test results. Since the designs were different amongthe teams, the concept of designing as a system can be discussed and emphasized. Finally, apresentation and demo session will be held in the week before the final exam week. The progressreport in Phase I, the final report in Phase II and a survey will be used as assessment tools.

Yuan, D. (2013, June), Teaching Engineering Design Concepts through a Multidisciplinary Control Project Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22527

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