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Using Failure to Teach Design

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

That's a Great Idea! Learning-focused Methods to Revitalize Your Courses

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Rob Sleezer Minnesota State University, Mankato, Twin Cities

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Rob Sleezer currently serves as a faculty member in the Twin Cities Engineering program in the Department of Integrated Engineering at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He earned his Ph.D. in Microelectronics-Photonics from the University of Arkansas after graduating from Oklahoma State University with degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

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Jacob John Swanson Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Jacob Swanson is an Assistant Professor of Engineering in the Department of Integrated Engineering at Minnesota State University Mankato and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota. Previously a Research Associate in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, UK and before that, a graduate of UMN’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include undergraduate engineering education, internal combustion engines and emissions, gas-phase particle synthesis, and instrumentation.

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Rebecca A Bates Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Rebecca A. Bates received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in 2004. She also received the M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1993. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Integrated Engineering program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, home of the Iron Range and Twin Cities Engineering programs. She is also a program director at the National Science Foundation for TCUP and HBCU-UP in the Division of Human Resource Development.

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Learning from failure during large ill-defined design projects provides students with opportunities to practice their abilities to explore other solutions, demonstrate that a required feature may violate physics, and propose design changes. This learning requires students to embrace their failures, something they have been trained to avoid in the past. This paper presents a case study where design students were encouraged to discuss failure in the context of design loops using reflection journaling and continuously evolving design requirements.

Sleezer, R., & Swanson, J. J., & Bates, R. A. (2016, June), Using Failure to Teach Design Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27145

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