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The Positive Impacts Of Design Projects In Freshman Courses

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1157.1 - 8.1157.6



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Paper Authors

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Linda Hardymon

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Saeed Foroudastan

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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 Positive Impacts of Design Projects in Freshman Courses

Dr. Saeed D. Foroudastan, Ms Linda O. Hardymon Middle Tennessee State University Engineering Technology & Industrial Studies Department


To enhance learning and encourage freshmen students to continue within the pre-engineering and engineering technology curriculums, Middle Tennessee State University modified its introductory engineering course to incorporate not only the fundamentals required to the support basic engineering course learning experience, but to include a design project. The hands-on design concept makes the course more interesting and more challenging, and gives the students a taste of real-world applications as motivation to continue with engineering or engineering technology as their major. Through a design project, students gain a better understanding of engineering or engineering technology as a career through exposure to the various disciplines the project requires. Several years ago, the professor of the introductory course initiated the concept of project involvement with one requiring simple drawings and models involving redesign of a door to solve an actual ventilation situation at the cogeneration plant. Realizing that small design assignments added value to the course, the question arose, why simulate a real-world project when the opportunity to do one is there? Since then, the students have progressed to the design and construction of a solar/battery-powered vehicle offering design and design problem issues, use of knowledge, physical application, comprehension of engineering principles, and teamwork that adhere to the learning objectives of the class. A bonus to the solar project is a national competition that can be entered to test the capabilities of the final project. Another design project choice is a moon buggy that upon completion can be entered in a NASA sponsored competition. The projects presented as assignments are short term (one semester) and positive experiences. The students are enthusiastic about these design projects that offer them an understanding of engineering and engineering technology and motivate them to take additional courses within the engineering curriculum. They gain a much better “sense” of engineering. Design projects in freshmen courses improve the course content, improve enrollment, and have a positive impact on the learning experience.


While studying recruiting and retention issues for the Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies Department at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), one of the professors took an innovative approach in his introductory engineering fundamentals course by using a simple

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Hardymon, L., & Foroudastan, S. (2003, June), The Positive Impacts Of Design Projects In Freshman Courses Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11804

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