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Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Improving Students' Functional Modeling Skills: A Modeling Approach and a Scoring Rubric

[+] Author and Article Information
Robert L. Nagel

Department of Engineering,
James Madison University,
MSC 4113, HHS 3224,
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
e-mail: nagelrl@jmu.edu

Matt R. Bohm

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Louisville,
200 Sackett Hall,
Louisville, KY 40292
e-mail: matt.bohm@louisville.edu

Julie S. Linsey

George W. Woodruff School of
Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
801 Ferst Dr.,
MaRC Building, Room 253,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: julie.linsey@me.gatech.edu

Marie K. Riggs

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Louisville,
200 Sackett Hall,
Louisville, KY 40292
e-mail: mkrigg02@louisville.edu

Packets for the Control, Example, and Grammar treatment groups may be downloaded from the following website: https://sites.google.com/site/idreemlaboratory/i-dreem/downloads.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received July 11, 2014; final manuscript received January 5, 2015; published online February 18, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Andy Dong.

J. Mech. Des 137(5), 051102 (May 01, 2015) (13 pages) Paper No: MD-14-1416; doi: 10.1115/1.4029585 History: Received July 11, 2014; Revised January 05, 2015; Online February 18, 2015

An engineering design curriculum that introduces functional modeling methods is believed to enhance the ability to abstract complex systems, assist during the concept generation phase of design, and reduce design fixation. To that end, a variety of techniques for considering function during design have been proposed in the literature, yet there are a lack of validated approaches for teaching students to generate functional models and no reliable method for the assessment of functional models. This paper presents a study investigating students' ability to generate functional models during a homework assignment; the study includes three different treatment conditions: (1) students who receive only a lecture on functional modeling, (2) students who receive a lecture on functional modeling as well as a step-by-step example, and (3) students who receive a lecture, a step-by-step example, and an algorithmic approach with grammar rules. The experiment was conducted in a cornerstone, undergraduate engineering design course, and consequently, was the students' first exposure to functional modeling. To assess student generated functional models across all three conditions, an 18 question functional model scoring rubric was developed based on flow-based functional modeling standards. Use of the rubric to assess the student generated functional models resulted in high inter-rater agreement for total score. Results show that students receiving the step-by-step example perform as well as students receiving the step-by-step example and an algorithmic approach with grammar rules; both groups perform better than the lecture-only group.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Black box model demonstrating commonly applied functional modeling nomenclature

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Fig. 2

Expert-generated black box model

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Fig. 3

Expert-generated simplistic functional model

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Fig. 4

Expert-generated complex functional model

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Fig. 5

Plotted results of average scores for each group with error bars showing ± 1SE

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Fig. 6

Average scoring student generated black box model from the Control group

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Fig. 7

Average scoring student generated functional model from the Control group

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Fig. 8

Average scoring student generated black box model from the Grammar group (Novice Professor)

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Fig. 9

Average scoring student generated functional model from the Grammar group (Novice Professor)

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Fig. 10

Average scoring student generated black box model from the Example group

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Fig. 11

Average scoring student generated functional model from the Example group

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Fig. 12

High scoring student generated black box model from the Grammar group (Expert 1 Professor)

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Fig. 13

High scoring student generated functional model from the Grammar group (Expert 1 Professor)

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Fig. 14

Low scoring student generated black box model from the control section

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Fig. 15

Low scoring student generated functional model from the control section

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