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Term Design Project in Fundamentals of Engineering Course

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

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Paper Authors

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Djedjiga Belfadel Fairfield University

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Elif Kongar Fairfield University

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John Drazan Fairfield University


Isaac Macwan Fairfield University

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Dr. Macwan is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at Fairfield University. He got his PhD in 2014 from University of Bridgeport. He is interested in developing bioelectronic devices and understanding the interactions at the interface of biological macromolecules and nanoparticles.

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Michael Zabinski

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This Complete Evidence-based Practice paper outlines the benefits of incorporating a team-based term design project into a first-year engineering class for students from disciplines including Electrical, Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering, and students without a declared major. The course is a required for all incoming engineering students and aims at providing pertinent knowledge and competencies in the form of fundamentals of engineering in a highly interactive course format. Topics include professional skills such as technical communication (both verbal and writing), guidelines for professional engineering practice, ethics and selected topics from Electrical, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering disciplines. This design-focused course teaches engineering approach to problem-solving with special emphasis on teamwork, oral and written communication, creativity, ingenuity, and computer-aided design tools. The instructional approach used in this course involves first-year engineering students as active participants in the learning process. Project-based learning involves implementing projects with hands-on tasks, well-defined outcomes, multiple solutions to the given problem, and linking science and engineering concepts. One primary goal of the course is to entice students by providing a hands-on and fun-to-learn environment designed to expose students to tools that will lead them to critical thinking, innovation, energy awareness, and problem-solving skills which will enable them to join tomorrow’s highly competitive workforce. One of the main assignments of the course is the Term Design Project (TDP), a team-based design challenge. Through TDP, students learn the systematic design process and gain experience in design verification and validation. This hands-on design experience culminates with a review conducted by the faculty and peers, the final presentation and demo of designed prototype and a final technical report. Through this project students gain exposure to the implementation of principles of design and engineering methodologies, project management, and presentation skills in a structured, systematic, and scientific way. TDP teams are asked to design an embedded system using the Arduino UNO Starter Kit. The project is open-ended allowing students to creatively design and prototype a system that satisfies the submission requirements involving several components from the kit categorized as trigger, response, actuator, sensor and miscellaneous. This approach is chosen to encourage pluralistic thinking and to avoid assessing students using closed-ended questions. Teams learned important lessons about the transition from conception to implementation. One of the most important outcomes of the course was learning to work effectively in teams. At the end of the course, each team was assessed not only on the quality of the design but also on team efficacy. The students developed professional socialization skills while preparing their technical reports and oral (PowerPoint) presentations. At the end of the semester, students presented their group projects in the classroom. In this paper, we report and analyze project data of TDP projects.

Belfadel, D., & Kongar, E., & Drazan, J., & Macwan, I., & Zabinski, M. (2022, August), Term Design Project in Fundamentals of Engineering Course Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41289

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