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Use Of Competitive Poster Projects In Freshman And Sophomore Level Classes

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1230.1 - 7.1230.19



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Paper Authors

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Zachariah Chambers

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Clark Merkel

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

Main Menu Session 1566

Use of Competitive Poster Projects in Freshman and Sophomore Level Classes

Clark T. Merkel, Zachariah Chambers Department of Mechanical Engineering Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Abstract: We have been using poster projects in freshman and sophomore level courses as a way to develop our students' design, teamwork, and presentation skills, as well as to reinforce the course concepts. Projects for classes are selected pertinent to the specific course material and are run as a competitive challenge to a number of separate teams formed from the students in each class. The projects require actually building a working prototype of the design and competing against other teams in head-to-head competition. In addition to the project competition, a judged, poster presentation on the project is required which is to demonstrate how their engineering skills were applied to the design and analysis of the project. This paper presents some of the different projects that have been used in our mechanical engineering classes. It also discusses how the projects were administered and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of this type of activity as a learning tool.

Introduction: What is a competitive poster project? It involves a team design project that culminates with both a poster display of the work completed by the team and a competitive event in which the different student teams compete against other student teams with a prototype of their design and construction. The choice of project can vary from class to class, since the focus of the projects are not interdisciplinary, but are targeted very closely to the material and principles which are to be covered in a specific class. The project is to act as an avenue by which the understanding of principles can be strengthened and at the same time allow an open-endedness to create the opportunity for a worthwhile design experience. It should be complex enough to include several of the conceptual principles together, so that the students will need to separate out the problems into a set of smaller tasks. Because the project will also involve actually building a prototype, the project should be simple enough that a team of students with average construction skills will be able to put together a workable prototype. While students generally find the opportunity to actually build a project exciting, the addition of making this into competition makes it even better. The promise of competition tends to draw out even more effort in the majority of students. The grand finale of the project occurs during the final week of the term, when the posters are displayed and judged, and the teams pit their prototypes against each other in competition.

The educational objectives of a poster project include: --to create a simple focused design experience at a lower class level. “Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ã 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Chambers, Z., & Merkel, C. (2002, June), Use Of Competitive Poster Projects In Freshman And Sophomore Level Classes Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10349

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