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Research Papers: Design Education

Designettes: An Approach to Multidisciplinary Engineering Design Education

[+] Author and Article Information
Cassandra Telenko

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
801 Ferst Drive,
Atlanta, GA 30332-0405
e-mail: cassandra.telenko@me.gatech.edu

Kristin Wood

Engineering Product Development,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372, Singapore
e-mail: kristinwood@sutd.edu.sg

Kevin Otto

Engineering Product Development,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372, Singapore
e-mail: kevin_n_otto@yahoo.com

Mohan Rajesh Elara

Engineering Product Development,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372, Singapore
e-mail: rajeshelara@sutd.edu.sg

Shaohui Foong

Engineering Product Development,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372, Singapore
e-mail: foongshaohui@sutd.edu.sg

Kin Leong Pey

Engineering Product Development,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372, Singapore
e-mail: peykinleong@sutd.edu.sg

U-Xuan Tan

Engineering Product Development,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372, Singapore
e-mail: uxuan_tan@sutd.edu.sg

Bradley Camburn

Engineering Product Development,
Singapore University of Technology and Design,
8 Somapah Road,
Singapore 487372, Singapore
e-mail: bradley_camburn@sutd.edu.sg

Diana Moreno

Engineering Sciences,
Université du Luxembourg,
6, rue Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi,
Luxemborg L-1359, Luxembourg
e-mail: diana.moreno@uni.lu

Dan Frey

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
77 Massachusetts Avenue,
Cambridge, MA 02131
e-mail: danfrey@mit.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Education Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received March 2, 2015; final manuscript received September 16, 2015; published online November 18, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Andy Dong.

J. Mech. Des 138(2), 022001 (Nov 18, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1178; doi: 10.1115/1.4031638 History: Received March 02, 2015; Revised September 16, 2015

Design and other fundamental topics in engineering are often isolated to dedicated courses. An opportunity exists to foster a culture of engineering design and multidisciplinary problem solving throughout the curriculum. Designettes, charettelike design challenges, are rapid and creative learning tools that enable educators to integrate design learning in a single class, across courses, across terms, and across disciplines. When two or more courses join together in a designette, a multidisciplinary learning activity occurs; multiple subjects are integrated and applied to open-ended problems and grand challenges. This practice helps foster a culture of design, and enables the introduction of multidisciplinary design challenges. Studies at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) demonstrate learning of engineering subject matter in a bio-inspired robotics designette (MechAnimal), an interactive musical circuit designette, and an automated milk delivery (AutoMilk) designette. Each challenge combines problem clarification, concept generation, and prototyping with subject content such as circuits, biology, thermodynamics, differential equations, or software with controls. From pre- and postsurveys of students, designettes are found to increase students' understanding of engineering concepts. From 321 third-semester students, designettes were found to increase students' perceptions of their ability to solve multidisciplinary problems.

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Topics: Design , Students
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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Flowchart for designette development

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Fig. 2

Research study of three designettes

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Fig. 5

Student self-concept in applying biology to engineering design problems increased

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Fig. 6

Students understanding of solving multidisciplinary problems increase

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Fig. 3

Students prototyping MechAnimal concepts

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Sketch from the MechAnimal activity shows ability to identify components and exercise creativity

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