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Transformation of Design Instruction in a Low-Resource Setting

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Making, Hacking, and Extracurricular Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--31156

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31156

Download Count

139

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Paper Authors

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Matthew Petney Rice 360 Institute for Global Health

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Samuel Gonthako Ng'anjo University of Malawi, The Polytechnic

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Samuel- an Industrial Engineer works as lecturer in Mechanical Engineering Department at The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the university of Malawi. He has over 20 years of experience in teaching Drawing and design, Manufacturing Technology, Quality control and Ergonomics. Samuel was head of Mechanical Engineering Department and in 2017 was appointed National judge for the 2017 National Innovation competition.
Samuel studied professional Production Engineering at Malawi Polytechnic, Bachelors in Industrial Engineering at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in South Africa and Masters in manufacturing at Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) in Australia.

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Joseph Chikaphonya Phiri University of Malawi, The Polytechnic

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A staff associate at The Malawi Polytechnic, a constituent college of The University of Malawi, under the Electrical Engineering department.

Coordinator of final year projects in the department and an enthusiast of Innovation.

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Matthew Wettergreen Rice University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9966-1540

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Matthew Wettergreen is a Lecturer in Engineering at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University. He is also the Assistant Director for the Rapid Prototyping Program at the School of Science Technology.

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Ann Saterbak Duke University

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Ann Saterbak is Professor of the Practice in the Biomedical Department and Director of First-Year Engineering at Duke University. Saterbak is the lead author of the textbook, Bioengineering Fundamentals. Saterbak’s outstanding teaching was recognized through university-wide and departmental teaching awards. In 2013, Saterbak received the ASEE Biomedical Engineering Division Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award. For her contribution to education within biomedical engineering, she was elected Fellow in the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Society of Engineering Education.

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Abstract

Transformation of Design Instruction in a Low-Resource Setting

Engineering schools in low-resource settings typically do not have access to makerspaces, which are common in engineering schools in the USA. Without tools or materials to build and iterate prototypes, instructors often assign paper-only design projects. Students in low-resource settings move through the first half of the design process, including understanding the problem, defining design specifications, generating solution ideas and selecting a solution. But, due to resource constraints, students “stop” the design process with a dimensioned sketch and a description of the materials needed to build the device. Through a long-term collaboration between Rice University and the University of Malawi Polytechnic, we have established a makerspace that is appropriate and sustainable in a low resource setting. The PIDS, or Polytechnic Innovation Design Studio, was established in 2016 with a grant from the Lemelson Foundation. PIDS houses electrical and mechanical prototyping tools such as Arduinos and Raspberry Pi, 3D printers, a laser cutter, a CNC machine, and various hand tools. Prototyping materials include supplies that are readily available in markets in Malawi. PIDS is open to all students across the school of engineering, faculty, recent Polytechnic graduates, and members of the Entrepreneur Hub, and it has become a true innovation hub where over 700 students have participated in hands-on workshops, class work and independent projects since its inception. In conjunction with establishing the PIDS, the required first-year drawing course was modified to include design projects scoped at a district hospital. The projects selected were a traction system for femoral fractures and a manual cast-cutting device. With the curricular modifications, all first-year students completed several steps in the engineering design process and created dimensioned drawings as well as low-fidelity prototypes of their design solutions in the PIDS. The final-year capstone design courses in mechanical and electrical engineering have also been transformed to emphasize prototyping. Final-year students with access to the PIDS completed more steps in the engineering design process, with time allocated to prototyping, testing, and iteration. In the final-year course, students now build projects such as a monitoring system for remote telecommunication sites and a neonatal respiratory rate sensor. In this paper, we discuss the impact of the PIDS and its transformation of the capstone design course. Using pictures of sketches, CAD drawings, and physical prototypes documented in student reports, the number of iterations, the quality of the final products, and the number of type of tools used to produce the final prototype are noted. Comparing before and after the opening of the PIDS, there are clear improvements in the number of department-specific tools used by student teams as well as the quality of the prototypes. In summary, this paper discusses the creation of a makerspace in a low resource setting and the impact the facility has had on the design education at the University of Malawi Polytechnic campus.

Petney, M., & Ng'anjo, S. G., & Chikaphonya Phiri, J., & Wettergreen, M., & Saterbak, A. (2018, June), Transformation of Design Instruction in a Low-Resource Setting Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31156

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