June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
In this complete evidence-based paper, it will be shown how computer simulations can be introduced in a freshman mechanical engineering course and how students can use computer simulations to make informed design decisions. Freshman-level engineering students may have insights about the workings of mechanical systems even though they may not be versed in the mathematical descriptions of such systems. The motivation for this work is three-fold: (1) allow freshman students to apply and expand their insights into mechanical systems without the need for mathematical descriptions which they may not yet be prepared to understand; (2) expose students to computer simulations at an early stage of their curriculum to solve engineering problems; and (3) offer opportunities for team work within the course on a large scale (200+ students) with reasonable resources. This paper shows how the course and computer simulation activities are set-up and administered and it provides a description of the design activity. Some samples of student work are provided. Student work is assessed based on their ability to: (1) specify design goals, (2) describe the design alternatives, (3) list relevant assumptions and constraints, (4) provide a procedure for using computer simulations to obtain data, and (5) use simulation data to make design decisions. There are several benefits to the method described in this paper including allowing instructors to cater to diverse student interests with limited resources. Specifically, it allows students to expand on course topics easily and meaningfully, allows students to apply existing knowledge and experience to create something new, motivates students, and interests them as they prepare for their future engineering courses.
Rios, O., & Fadda, D. (2019, June), Using Computer Simulations in a Freshman Mechanical Engineering Course to Make Informed Design Decisions Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33499
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