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The Challenge of Developing Transferable Problem Formulation Design Behaviors in First-year Students

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

First-year Programs Division Technical Session 2: Design in the First Year: Challenges and Successes

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

26.1510.1 - 26.1510.10

DOI

10.18260/p.24848

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24848

Download Count

95

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Paper Authors

biography

Reid Bailey University of Virginia

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Reid Bailey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Virginia. He holds a BSE from Duke University and an MSME and PhD from Georgia Tech, all in mechanical engineering. His professional interests include engineering design, engineering education, and the environment.

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Abstract

The  Challenge  of  Developing  Transferable  Problem  Formulation  Design   Behaviors  in  First-­‐Year  Students  Problem  identification  and  formulation  skills  such  as  engaging  stakeholders,  developing  requirements,  and  performing  research  are  core  learning  outcomes  in  design  courses.      It  is  common  for  students  to  work  in  teams  to  execute  this  work  and  submit  a  report  that  contains  specific  information  (e.g.,  customer  needs,  a  mapping  of  needs  to  design  requirements,  functional  requirements)  required  by  the  instructor.      Earlier  studies  with  students  from  multiple  universities  have  found  that,  while  students  may  demonstrate  such  skills  on  required  reports  during  a  first-­‐year  design  class,  a  surprisingly  small  percentage  of  students  would  adopt  those  behaviors  on  design  projects  after  completing  these  classes  [1].    Since  these  initial  studies,  additional  data  have  been  collected  on  first-­‐year  design  classes  at  State  University  over  several  years.    During  this  same  time,  several  changes  to  the  first-­‐year  engineering  design  class  have  been  implemented  in  an  effort  to  increase  the  percentage  of  students  who  adopt  problem  formulation  behaviors  on  design  projects.  The  focus  of  this  paper  is  to  present  results  from  this  additional  data.  The  Design  Process  Knowledge  (DPK)  critique  tool  was  used  to  assess  students’  likelihood  of  applying  problem  formulation  skills  on  design  projects.    On  the  DPK,  students  critique  a  proposed  design  process  that  has  several  deficiencies,  including  the  lack  of  problem  formulation  activities.    One  earlier  study  showed  that  only  9  percent  of  students  in  a  first-­‐year  design  class  at  Chiva  University  identified  the  lack  of  problem  formulation  activities  as  a  deficiency  before  the  class,  and  only  11%  did  so  after  the  class.    This  difference  was  not  statistically  significant  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  students  were  doing  these  problem  formulation  activities  during  class  projects.    Similar  results  were  found  at  State  University.    In  short:  making  students  do  problem  formulation  in  a  class  was  not  sufficient  for  students  to  adopt  such  behaviors  in  projects  after  the  class  was  over.      Results  from  the  more  recent  data  show  that  well  over  50%  of  students  are  now  recognizing  that  problem  formulation  steps  are  completely  missing  from  the  DPK  assessment.    We  explore  possible  reasons  for  the  large  change  in  learning  in  recent  years,  with  evidence  pointing  towards  the  importance  of  continually  exposing  students  to  the  differences  between  their  instinctive  design  behaviors  and  the  behaviors  of  effective  engineering  designers.    [1] [name removed for anonymity of review], "[title removed for anonymity of review]," International Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 24, 2008.  

Bailey, R. (2015, June), The Challenge of Developing Transferable Problem Formulation Design Behaviors in First-year Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24848

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