July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
This Complete Evidence-based Practice paper describes the transition of an in-person engineering design project to a virtual setting as part of a Summer Bridge program. The project is typically a hands-on, interdisciplinary, team engineering project that students work on each day on campus. The typical goals of the project are to introduce the students to the engineering design process, working as part of an engineering team, and to gain experience with our facilities that allow for construction and fabrication of projects. Due to the closure of the University during the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire program was moved to a virtual format, including the engineering project. In order to ensure that the students were still able to experience the many benefits of a hands-on, interdisciplinary, team project, the project staff worked in the spring and early summer to come up with a new scope, structure and plan. The scope of the new project (an electric boat carrying pennies) was reduced to ensure that students could individually complete the build aspect of their projects in their homes using materials and tools that were shipped to each student. Students were instructed on the details of the traditional engineering design process and the schedule of the project was created to follow this traditional process. The program was extended to 6 weeks, with each student team meeting via synchronous video conferencing twice per week to work as a team and interact with project advisors. Teams were required to submit updates on their project as well as requests for additional materials. In a new process for the project staff, the student cohort was introduced to computer aided design software and given access to 3D printers on campus to produce specialized parts for their boats. Students were also required to document their project work, beginning with design discussions and drawings, and concluding with a final presentation and a video. As the program proceeded, the primary difficulty was verifying project progress for each team and ensuring teams made adequate progress each week. There were also issues ensuring students received their shipped materials and equipment in a timely fashion. Project mentors (current engineering students and program alumni) were utilized to help assist in observing the students and soliciting feedback on the project experience. The initial project schedule was adjusted to allow more time for early design work and to allow supplies to reach their destinations. While all students were able to successfully complete the project, the performance of the boats varied widely. However, the team’s final presentations and videos reflected understanding of the design process and enjoyment of the project. If future programs are virtual for the project portion, additional and more specific communications from the students would allow program staff to more adequately evaluate team progress and improve project performance. More pre-program assessments would allow program staff to document improvements in student understanding of the engineering design process and overall project opinions.
Dalton, C., & Quiroga, A., & Reed, B. (2021, July), Transitioning an In-person Team Engineering Design Project to a Virtual Setting Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37937
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