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Teaching Innovative Product Development Skills To Freshman Engineering Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1186.1 - 9.1186.10



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Paper Authors

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Mark Barker

author page

David Hall

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

Teaching Innovative Product Development Skills to Freshmen Engineering Students J. Mark Barker and David Hall Mechanical Engineering Program College of Engineering and Science Louisiana Tech University


A new course of instruction has been developed and delivered on a pilot basis at Louisiana Tech University. The goal of this course sequence is to provide freshman engineering students selected tools essential to innovative product development and to provide them the opportunity to use these skills in a product development project.

The development of this course of instruction was motivated by several factors. One is the relatively new emphasis at Louisiana Tech University on entrepreneurship. This emphasis has a central focal point on campus, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, or CEnIT. The mission of this center is to create an innovative entrepreneurial culture at Louisiana Tech University. In order to change a culture, it is reasonable to begin with new members of that culture. Another factor is the authors’ desire to see an improvement in the senior design projects for the capstone mechanical engineering design course sequence. These projects could benefit by attempting to have a marketable product as a final result. A third factor is the belief that entrepreneurship begins by having ideas about a product, and survives by being able to do something with the idea, and that ability can be taught. Entrepreneurial courses have been offered at Tech, typically to upperclassmen. The goal of this project is to effect these changes by providing freshman engineering students with experience in product development.

The resulting course is a significant modification to an existing freshman engineering course sequence. The development, delivery, and results of this course are the subject of this paper.

The Original Courses

The freshman engineering curriculum at Louisiana Tech University, which is on the quarter system, includes a three-course engineering sequence. These courses are labeled ENGR 120, 121, and 122, Engineering Problem Solving I, II, and III. The primary purpose of these courses is to provide early engineering experience to accompany the math and science courses. These courses aid the students in determining proper academic major selection. The content of these courses includes an introduction to selected engineering topics closely related to or integrated with the content of the math and science courses.1 These topics include elementary problem solving, statistics, electrical circuits, material balance, mechanics of materials, and 3D modeling. The students also gain experience using software tools such as Excel, MathCAD, and Solid Edge

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Barker, M., & Hall, D. (2004, June), Teaching Innovative Product Development Skills To Freshman Engineering Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13170

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