June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Design in Engineering Education
12.1539.1 - 12.1539.13
Using Case Studies to Teach Introductory Design Concepts to First Year Engineers
This paper presents the authors’ first experiences with delivering case studies on a large scale (1000+ students). The authors used multimedia (mostly video) in place of in-class delivery to gauge its effectiveness at such a large scale. The results in terms of the student responses to a questionnaire and their performance on the case studies are presented. These results will be used to improve the case studies. It is hoped that this paper will give others a glimpse into the process of continuous improvement of case studies. To that end temporary weaknesses in our products and processes are explored in detail.
A new group called the Design Case Studies Group (http://design.uwaterloo.ca) has been created in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo to create case studies for use in courses throughout the curriculum. A good case study represents reality: a real situation (context), a real problem faced by an engineer, and uses real data. The following criteria are also used in evaluating a case study for use in a course:
1. Contains incomplete/extraneous data 2. Requires judgment and evaluation as well as analysis 3. Requires problem formulation and refinement 4. Involves an element of Design 5. There is no single correct solution 6. The company’s actual solution is available for comparison with student work
Cases must map well onto the curriculum, and are most effective if they can be used in more than one course. The group’s first case studies were presented in the Fall of 2006, and are the subject of this paper. The purpose of the case studies was to introduce the engineering design process to first year students in every Engineering department. This is consistent with other “Engineering in Context” approaches to first year engineering courses. [1, 2, 3, 4]
Two case studies were chosen: A Hydro Quebec case study which involves selecting from among alternative energy sources, and an Engineers Without Borders (Canada) case study on drinking water supply.
The first case study was used to introduce the engineering design process and its terminology, and the second case was used to give the students hands-on experience working through the steps of the engineering design process.
In the second case, the students ultimately had to enter and run an Excel simulation to determine the optimum size for a rainwater storage tank that would carry an average household through drought periods using the excess rainwater collected in wetter periods.
Campbell, C., & Lambert, S. (2007, June), Using Case Studies To Teach Introductory Design Concepts To First Year Engineers Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2843
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