Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Inclusion of an Engineering Design Experience in Freshman Introductory Engineering Courses at a Hispanic-serving Institution

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Design Across Curriculum 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Matthew Lucian Alexander P.E. Texas A&M University - Kingsville

visit author page

Dr. Alexander graduated with a BS in Engineering Science from Trinity University, a MS in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. He worked for 25 years in environmental engineering consulting before joining the faculty at Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2015.

visit author page


Rajashekar Reddy Mogiligidda Texas A&M University - Kingsville

visit author page

I am working as a Lecturer in the department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville since 2016. I graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with a Master's in Mechanical Engineering in 2016. I am currently pursing PhD in Engineering as a part time student while working as a lecturer.

visit author page


David Hicks Texas A&M University - Kingsville

visit author page

David Hicks is an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Before joining TAMU-K he served as Associate Professor and Department Head at Aalborg University in Esbjerg, Denmark. He has also held positions in research labs in the U.S. as well as Europe, and spent time as a researcher in the software industry. His research interests include knowledge management, software engineering, mobile computing platforms, and computer science education. Dr. Hicks received his B.S. degree in computer science from Angelo State University, and his MCS and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Texas A&M University.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The freshmen introductory engineering courses taught by three departments in the College of Engineering at _____ University have incorporated engineering design instruction and hands-on design projects in the last two years as part of NSF grant award ___. A primary objective of this grant is to increase the retention and persistence of minorities in the engineering programs by incorporating high-impact enrichment activities into courses early in the student’s academic career. A logical course to include high-impact activities for freshmen is the introduction to engineering courses in the departments, which are known as “Engineering as a Career”. This work presents the approach used for a hands-on design project presented by instructors in three similar courses and solicits feedback from other freshmen engineering practitioners. Preliminary retention data comparing the current course implementation to prior years when no design project was included is provided to assess effectiveness. In the chemical engineering introductory course, the hands-on design project involved the development of a simple water purification system to create clean non-potable water from silty water held in a pond. Student teams were provided with a set of supplies, and they were allowed to test components as a prototype. Many student’s work led to experimental outcomes quite different from what they believed would occur, thus reinforcing the engineering design cycle of prototype-test-repeat. Student feedback indicated that they enjoyed working through the challenge using the engineering design approach, and the opportunity to conduct hands-on testing to gauge performance. The introductory course taught to electrical engineering and computer science students included a robot building team project and competition designed to further engage students with the course content. Project teams of 3 to 4 students were formed and given the task of assembling a robot chassis, including a Raspberry Pi credit card sized computer, and writing a basic guidance program in Python. A competition was held at the end of the semester to determine which team’s robot could successfully follow a designated path in the shortest time period. Students reported this hands-on project to be an interesting combination of electrical engineering and computer science topics, and found the competition to be a compelling motivator. The mechanical engineering students worked on a 3D printing design project, where they designed a gyroscopic mechanism on SolidWorks and 3D-printed the design using an FDM based 3D-printer. Students were split into teams of 4 to develop a gyroscopic design on SolidWorks and later used the basic simulation tool to check for any potential design and assembly errors. The outcome of the projects indicated that the students showed high interest in designing. Based on the feedback from the students, the course was a good introduction to mechanical engineering with a good balance of hands-on projects and lectures. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Alexander, M. L., & Mogiligidda, R. R., & Hicks, D. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Inclusion of an Engineering Design Experience in Freshman Introductory Engineering Courses at a Hispanic-serving Institution Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015