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Using A Request For Proposal (Rfp) Methodology To Enhance Engineering Design Courses

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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

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1366.1 - 9.1366.7

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Paper Authors

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Joe Hartman

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

Session 1532

Using a Request for Proposal (RFP) Methodology to Enhance Engineering Design Courses


Electrical & Computer Engineering, Boise State University


This paper presents a novel teaching technique that uses a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) as a design tool to add practical real-world engineering design experience in upper level electrical and computer engineering courses. Design examples and student survey responses from a Computer Architecture and Computer Networks course are described.

RFPs are used in government and industry for nearly all engineering development contracts. The RFP specifications used in the courses are adapted from actual equipment specifications used in the procurement of major system development, such as a redundant air traffic control computer system and a digital telephony switch.

Teams are chosen by the instructor and, as far as practical, contain equal numbers of Computer Science, EE students, graduates, and undergraduates.

The major benefits of the RFP methodology and the significant award (exemption from the final exam) are: • Generating an extremely high level of interest, which is a key to learning. • Developing lively and interactive project presentations, since each team has worked on the same design problem. • Learning to integrate cost as a design constraint. • Gaining redundancy and reliability expertise because the RFP specifications required them. • Leaning how to bid solutions to complex real-world problems • Learning the competitive procurement methodology.

The paper discusses the various real-world design specifications that are used and the modifications to the specifications required to make the solutions feasible for a course exercise. Summaries of student evaluation scores, evaluation comments, and examples of student results are included. The author demonstrates the value of this technique from a motivational, as well as technical, perspective.

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

Hartman, J. (2004, June), Using A Request For Proposal (Rfp) Methodology To Enhance Engineering Design Courses Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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