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What Is Design And How Do We Let Non Engineers In On The Secret That Its Fun?

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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

Technological Literacy II

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1420.1 - 9.1420.11

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Paper Authors

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Charles Nippert

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

session 1761

What is Design and How Do We Let Non-Engineers in on the Secret That it’s Fun?

Charles Nippert, Antonia D’Onofrio, Stephen Madigosky, Akshay Vilivalam Widener University


Engineering design is often one of the more interesting and exciting aspects of engineering. Yet few outside the profession ever experience its challenges. At Widener University, an education course is offered to in service high school teachers that provides them with an opportunity to develop a Virtual Laboratory designed around standard science experiments. Programming was performed by one of the authors, while the class participated in the design process, experiencing the iterative nature of the process and learning basics of software evaluation and web programming.

The course was first offered in the spring of 2003 with an enrollment of five and again in the spring of 2004 with six participants. Both the in service teachers who participated in the design process and the high school students who tested the resulting simulations reported positive experiences.

Why is it so hard to explain engineering to people who are not engineers?

This project is based on the idea that high school students could be best informed about engineering indirectly; using the high school teachers with whom they were already in contact. We sought to make the participating teachers more aware of the engineering profession, in the hope that they would favorably influence their students toward a career in the profession.

Our course attempts to provide the teachers with the experience of participating in a design team that creates online, interactive virtual laboratories in their subject area. Creating virtual laboratories was selected as a project because we want the teachers to be active participants in a creative process that deals with a complex scientific and technical Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ÆÉ 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Nippert, C. (2004, June), What Is Design And How Do We Let Non Engineers In On The Secret That Its Fun? Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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