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Using A Common Device To Introduce First Year Students To Various Engineering Technology Disciplines

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Interdisciplinary Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1363.1 - 9.1363.8



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Paper Authors

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Scott Segalewitz

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

Session 3150

Using a Common Device to Introduce First-Year Students to Various Engineering Technology Disciplines Scott Segalewitz University of Dayton


The University of Dayton engineering technology first-year seminar provides students with an effective introduction to engineering technology principles and practices. Facilitated by the department chair, students in each of the department’s five majors plus those entering the department as “undeclared” experience tools necessary for success in a technical curriculum.

One four-class module uses a common device, the switch, to introduce students to various engineering fields. In a hands-on approach, students test, design, disassemble, analyze, and reassemble switches while learning about programs of study, the interaction between disciplines, and possible career paths. Using this device, student teams are introduced to electronics by discovering how various switches operate, and by designing a process to test the electrical connections. To introduce mechanical design, teams are given a problem that requires the use of a switch. They spend some time brainstorming ideas for their design, and produce a concept drawing, including the mechanical details for their team’s device. The manufacturing process is introduced by giving each team an identical 120Vac switch, and asking them to carefully disassemble it and create detailed assembly drawings and a bill of materials. They then need to use their own assembly drawings to reassemble the switches. During this process, students are exposed to the various materials of each component and the processes involved in manufacturing each part. Finally, students are introduced to industrial engineering concepts by using their assembly drawings from the previous week to design efficient processes to assemble multiple switches, learn about basic economic and efficiency principles, and investigate quality assurance issues.

While students are learning about engineering disciplines, other course and TC2K outcomes are also realized. All four sections involve critical thinking concepts and interdisciplinary student teams. Creativity in design is seen in the mechanical and industrial sections, and the mechanical and electronic sections require students to make brief technical presentations. Overall, students report a high degree of satisfaction with this facet to the course. They welcome the interaction with their peers, and appreciate the practical approach to learning about engineering disciplines.


The University of Dayton (UD) Department of Engineering Technology currently has four programs accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (TAC of ABET), and a relatively new program in Computer Engineering Technology is scheduled to undergo its initial accreditation review during the next

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Segalewitz, S. (2004, June), Using A Common Device To Introduce First Year Students To Various Engineering Technology Disciplines Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13014

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