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The Pilot Design Studio Classroom

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1029.1 - 6.1029.19



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Cataldo

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Gerardo Del Cerro

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

Session 2793

The Pilot Design Studio-Classroom

Joseph Cataldo and Gerardo del Cerro The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art


The teaching of fluid mechanics at Cooper Union has been revised to make it an interactive design mode. Key fluid mechanics principles are demonstrated using design project assignments, demonstrations/experiments, videos, and lectures. A series of eleven modules has been developed. Each module consists of an outline of the theory of a topic that will be covered in lectures, an illustrated design problem, historical and cultural notes, a design homework example, a series of demonstrations, and references. Each module is self-contained and takes approximately one to three weeks to cover. One of the ways these modules are unique is that the material is presented by the use of design problems, design homework examples, and design projects. A set of short videotapes (approximately three minutes each) keyed to the professor’s lectures allows for basic concepts to be presented by moving from the lecture mode to a video mode.

I. Introduction

The concept of the studio-classroom was originated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Physics Department about eight years ago. Expanding on the traditional lecture format, the studio-classroom concept was designed to revitalize the learning environment using educational technology4. Modern educational technology is revolutionizing the traditional classroom learning-teaching model. For example, the fluid mechanics course at Cooper union and elsewhere has been taught in lecture mode using one main textbook5,7. In contrast, the studio-classroom model offers lectures plus in-class demonstrations and experiments8. Using benchtops apparatuses1 , an instructor giving a classroom lesson can now flick a switch to dramatically illustrate pressure drop as flow passes into a Venturi meter2.

Thus the benefits of lab and classroom are combined. Add to this multimedia --video, computer projections, interactive software-- and the classroom becomes dynamic, efficient, and engaging, providing a bridge between abstraction and application 8,9,10. A place where the classroom is taken to the next level where the dynamic environment makes the design process central to engineering education, and to better integrate analysis into that process 3.

The studio concept has been used successfully at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 13,14 and the multimedia enhanced lecture environment has been part of required courses in science and engineering at other institutions for the last decade2,5. Students give the new studio higher approval ratings than traditional lectures13,14 and professors say the new

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Cataldo, J., & Del Cerro, G. (2001, June), The Pilot Design Studio Classroom Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9648

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