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The Evolution of Engineering Design Courses to a Hybrid-virtual Environment to Increase Student Engagement and Satisfaction

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Across the Curriculum 2

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Nicholas Mulka Georgia Institute of Technology

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Nicholas Mulka earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is working towards his M.S. in mechanical engineering at the same university. His focus is on design related to additive manufacturing and robotics. He currently works as the teaching assistant for the mechanical engineering and interdisciplinary capstone design courses, using the experience he gained as a student at GT to advise others and help create online platforms to enhance the course delivery.

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Kinsey Herrin Georgia Institute of Technology

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Kinsey Herrin received the BS degree in chemistry from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA in 2008 and the MS degree in prosthetics and orthotics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2010. She completed her clinical orthotics residency at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in 2011 and her clinical prosthetics residency at the University of Michigan in 2013. She is currently a Senior Research Scientist in the Georgia Institute of Technology Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Atlanta, GA. Her research interests include wearable robotics, human interfacing design and performance augmentation and clinical outcomes driven research.

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Amit Shashikant Jariwala Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Amit Jariwala is the Director of Design & Innovation for the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Production Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India, with honors in 2005. He received a Master of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 from IIT Bombay, India. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2013, with minors in Entrepreneurship. At Georgia Tech, he is responsible for enhancing corporate support for design courses, managing design and fabrication/prototyping facilities, coordinating the design competitions/expo, and teaching design courses, with a strong focus on creating and enabling multidisciplinary educational experiences. His research interests are in makerspaces, evidence-based design education, and advanced additive manufacturing processes.

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Engineering Design courses with teamwork elements face critical logistical issues that become increasingly prevalent on a large scale. These issues become exacerbated when the course is cross-disciplinary or includes external partners. This paper discusses the suite of virtual tools utilized to support senior capstone design courses to manage logistics. We report on student satisfaction associated with team formation, project selection, and project presentation aspects.

For each of these aspects, an interactive, virtual conferencing platform is utilized in which participants can freely move between small informal groups at any time. This platform's structure is designed to mimic a traditional in-person exhibition. Participants can listen to presentations at tables, ask questions, talk individually, and move to a different location at their discretion. The platform relieves the logistical burden of gathering people from geographically separate locations in the same space while retaining much of the freedoms and interactions associated with in-person events.

A separate online web portal, which acts as a database for projects and students, was created and made available to augment the real-time online team formation process. Students can use this portal to learn about the projects, propose project ideas, highlight projects that interest them, and share their skills and experiences. This platform reduces the amount of time and resources needed to provide students the information necessary to make well-informed decisions when attending the project selection and team formation conferences.

Giving students preferential control relieves the burden on faculty for large scale team formation and project selection. The faculty could then focus primarily on managing the project bid delegation based on a decision flowchart outlined in the paper. Having access to a combination of interactive synchronous and asynchronous online tools can help students make well-informed decisions about teammate and project preferences.

At the end of the semester, students attend the capstone design exposition to present their project outcomes to the public, including judges, sponsors, guests, and students. This experience helps students gain a hands-on learning environment to practice communications with a wide range of audiences. Utilizing a virtual and interactive conferencing tool increases accessibility to the capstone design expo. It enables participation when circumstances such as budget restrictions, geographic separation, or social distancing requirements could make it otherwise infeasible. This paper reports on the perception and impact of all these tools on student satisfaction in the course.

Mulka, N., & Herrin, K., & Jariwala, A. S. (2021, July), The Evolution of Engineering Design Courses to a Hybrid-virtual Environment to Increase Student Engagement and Satisfaction Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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