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The Necessity of Autonomous Evaluation of Parametric Modeling and Drafting Instruction

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 1 - Current Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Jeff P. Morris Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Jeff Morris is the technical manager of CAD/CAM/CAE for the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, managing the computer-aided design/manufacturing/engineering training and curriculum for the school. Jeff received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer in 2002 and worked in the chemical-mechanical polishing industry for Dow (formerly Rohm & Haas) for two years before beginning graduate studies. He completed a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2005 from Rensselaer, focusing on product assembly design. He completed his graduate work in 2011 with a doctorate in Engineering Science from Rensselaer, developing sustainability metrics for product assemblies. He continues research in the fields of sustainability and computer-aided-engineering curricula.

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Higher-educational STEM-focused institutions are finding it necessary to evaluate modeling skills with CAD software in a quicker and more consistent manner. This paper describes the history, process, and improvement opportunities in the grading of student-submitted CAD files for a large introductory CAD course (>250 students). During a first-year, 14-week collegiate CAD course, hundreds of students create and submit thousands of CAD files for evaluation. For a large course, current evaluation of student assignment quality requires the employment ratio of one teaching assistant to 10 students, whose dual role is to offer assistance with questions and grade assignments. Currently, course assignments are graded manually through a five-point rubric within the weekly course meeting time. Manual grading begets the following disadvantages: at least a third of the class time is spent purely evaluating assignments (translating to less time spent offering assistance), teaching assistants will have various levels of experience with CAD, grading inconsistencies may exist between teaching assistants (even with following a rubric), students may leave class without being graded or have their grades omitted through clerical errors, and complex models require too much time to properly catch potential modeling errors. To address these issues, a novel program has been written that interfaces with a CAD software to grade each CAD assignment within a fraction of a second. The program seeks to interrogate common modeling and geometric errors that students encounter when learning 2D and 3D solid modeling practices, and deduct for these errors independently (i.e. not merely a comparison of “volumes”). The program extracts relevant file properties to a spreadsheet, compares the set of submissions against either a “master” file, or a set of standards controlled by the grader, and returns a grade for the assignment. Further, the program is highly customizable, and can be tailored to different modeling strategies of the course. An entire class of students (approx. 30 - 45) can be graded in less than a minute. A submission procedure to a course-based server for collection and feedback presentation to students will also be discussed. As engineering instructors, it is a necessary duty to ensure that all students receive impartial and consistent evaluation of their submitted work. This method and program strives to that end, while lessening the staff resources required to evaluate student’s submissions.

Morris, J. P. (2019, June), The Necessity of Autonomous Evaluation of Parametric Modeling and Drafting Instruction Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33409

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