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Teaming In Engineering Design Courses

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.498.1 - 4.498.6

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Paper Authors

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Wallace Fowler

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

Session 2230

Teaming in Engineering Design Courses

Wallace Fowler The University of Texas at Austin


The ability of new engineering graduates to work in teams is a skill that is highly valued by industry. It is reported by campus interviewers and engineers at NASA and in industry that students who have had experience in working in teams as undergraduates more readily adapt to the industry environment and usually advance faster than students who have no teaming experience. Teamwork exercises can be integrated into all levels of the undergraduate experience, but the primary curriculum element that features teaming the design element. This paper discusses the goals of the teaming experiences in the author’s design courses and the course features that help these objectives to be met. Aspects of multi-institutional teaming are included in the discussion.

1. Introduction

Capstone design courses are where important parts of the transition from the classroom to real world engineering should take place. The more like the real world we make our design courses, the better is for our students. In creating effective design courses, we should learn from those with experience, both experienced design instructors and design engineers in industry. Teaching design is iterative (like the design process itself) and a what works often depends the institutional learning environment, the design instructor, the available resources, the students, and student interactions with other faculty members and engineers from industry and government.

This paper presents a set of goals and practices that were learned by the author while teaching at the USAF Academy in 1981-82 and while collaborating with 40+ design instructors as part of the NASA/USRA Advanced Design Program from 1985-95. The current multi-disciplinary multi-institutional design activities discussed are part of the Texas Space Grant Consortium’s Advanced Design Program - an outgrowth of the NASA/USRA program.

2. Goals for Teaming Exercises in Design Courses

The typical student in a capstone design course is within one to three semesters of graduation. Many students today have come through 16+ years of education in which almost every course was characterized by rules such as (1) do your own work, (2) working together is cheating, (3)

Fowler, W. (1999, June), Teaming In Engineering Design Courses Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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