Asee peer logo

Teaching Engineering Fundamentals With A Project Based Learning Approach

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Innovative Curriculum in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1204.1 - 10.1204.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

B. Sridhara

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1150

Teaching Engineering Fundamentals with a Project-Based Learning Approach

B. S. Sridhara

Middle Tennessee State University


Recruiting and retaining students in the Engineering Technology area has been a major challenge to many of us in the Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies (ETIS) Department at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). In the Fall of 2004 the author offered ET 1840 – Engineering Fundamentals and teaching this class was a lot of fun. Topics such as total quality, engineering design process and engineering solutions were discussed drawing examples from the previous three Solaraider (MTSU’s solar car) projects and the ongoing experimental vehicles program. The author served as chief faculty advisor for MTSU’s undergraduate solar car teams from 1994 to 1999 during which period three 19’x6.5’x4’ solar cars were built to compete in the cross country race called Sunrayce. Another ETIS faculty member is supervising the department’s ongoing experimental vehicles projects such as solar bike, moon buggy and formula SAE. The ET 1840 students were encouraged to take part in one of these projects. In addition to lectures and discussions, the students were exposed to some hands-on and fun type activities. They were given an overview of 3-D modeling and an approximately ten-inch long cycloidal and straight path model was designed in their presence using AutoDesk Inventor. A few minutes later we went to the ETIS machine shop where the students could watch a rapid prototyping machine build the 3-D model out of ABS plastic. Two days later the students could hold the prototype in their hands and play with it. They were given hands-on design projects such as the egg drop contest and the path of least time (based on Johann Bernoulli’s brachistochrone problem) without involving the details of the theory. The author received an internal grant from which a Pasco compact, hand-operated stress-strain apparatus was purchased and the students were given a demonstration of this unit. As part of their take home exam, the students worked on an alternative energy vehicle project to ease the traffic problem on MTSU campus. They were required to discuss their engineering design with reference to the ten-step process that has been presented in the textbook1.


Middle Tennessee State University is located in Murfreesboro and it is the fastest growing university in the state of Tennessee with approximately 22,000 students enrolled currently. Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies (ETIS) is one of the ten departments “Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Sridhara, B. (2005, June), Teaching Engineering Fundamentals With A Project Based Learning Approach Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15619

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: © 2005 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