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Teaching Plant Design/Material Handling By Project Based Approach

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Design in Manufacturing

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1218.1 - 11.1218.10



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Paper Authors


Wangping Sun Oregon Institute of Technology

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Dr. Wangping Sun is an assistant professor at Oregon Institute of Technology. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a master's degree in software engineering, and a PhD degree in industrial engineering. He has ten years of work experience in industry and four years of work experience in information technology.

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John Anderson Oregon Institute of Technology

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John Anderson an associate professor at Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology, Oregon Institute of Technology. He is a licensed Mechanical Engineer with more than 20 years experience in such diverse industries as commercial printing, small arms, paper and non-woven consumer products and building materials. He came to Oregon Tech from Purdue University, where he taught in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs. His specialties are machine design and systems integration for manufacturing. He has one patent and many professional publications.

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

Teaching Plant Design/Material Handling by Project-based Approach


At our institute, instructors of MFG 407 (Plant Design/Material Handling) have tried to teach this senior-level course by adopting a project-based approach. In the course, the students formed project teams and pursued their own interests in identifying real-world problems that they wanted to solve in sponsored projects. With the instructors’ facilitation, the students were self-motivated in learning. The endeavors to establish the project-based environment produced encouraging results. Students not only gained theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills but also acquired confidence to meet the challenges in their future professional development in manufacturing areas. This paper explains the experiences of MFG 407 instructors regarding how to set up a project-based learning environment in the engineering course.


Engineering education; Facilities Planning; Material Handling; Project-based learning.


Project-based learning (PBL) is any learning environment in which the problem drives the learning 1. PBL emphasizes learning activities that are interdisciplinary, student-centered, and integrated with real-world issues and practices 2. It is currently the most-favored pedagogical model for teaching design 3 and has the following significant benefits as far as learning, work habits, problem-solving capabilities, and self-esteem are concerned 2, 4-7:

• PBL is learner-centered. It motivates students to pursue their own interests and make decisions about how to solve the complex problems in an integrated problem-solving environment. • PBL increases students’ confidence in their learning capabilities. It encourages the students to dig more deeply into a topic and expand their interests. • PBL is suitable for introductory science and engineering classes. • PBL provides opportunities for students to learn other skills desired by today's employers, such as collaboration with others, commitment to quality, timeliness, and continuous improvement. • PBL helps the students to possess an interest in lifelong learning.

At our institute, MFG 407 (Plant Design/Material Handling) is a senior engineering course offered to manufacturing and mechanical engineering students. The instructors of MFG 407 have tried to teach this course by adopting a project-based approach. Basically, the process to build a

Sun, W., & Anderson, J. (2006, June), Teaching Plant Design/Material Handling By Project Based Approach Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--162

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