Research Papers: Design Education

Enhance Engineering Design Education in the Middle Years With Authentic Engineering Problems

[+] Author and Article Information
Yen-Lin Han

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Seattle University,
901 12th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98122
e-mail: hanye@seattleu.edu

Kathleen Cook

Department of Psychology,
Seattle University,
901 12th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98122
e-mail: kathcook@seattleu.edu

Gregory Mason

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Seattle University,
901 12th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98122
e-mail: mason@seattleu.edu

Teodora Rutar Shuman

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Seattle University,
901 12th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98122
e-mail: teodora@seattleu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Education Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received November 19, 2017; final manuscript received July 5, 2018; published online September 18, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Gul E. Okudan Kremer.

J. Mech. Des 140(12), 122001 (Sep 18, 2018) (9 pages) Paper No: MD-17-1775; doi: 10.1115/1.4040880 History: Received November 19, 2017; Revised July 05, 2018

Engineering design has been a requirement in the curriculum for engineering accreditation since the mid-90 s. This emphasis on engineering design has introduced significant changes to engineering curricula in freshmen and senior years with many engineering programs offering capstone (senior) and/or cornerstone (freshmen) design courses. Yet design-related content and experiences in the second and third years of the engineering curricula remain less common due to the heavy emphasis on fundamental engineering science courses in the middle years. This study investigated the possibility of developing design ability (thinking, process, and skills) in one of these courses. The method used was to incorporate real world, open-ended problem solving, specifically authentic engineering problem centered learning (AEPCL), into a junior-level heat transfer course. AEPCL uses authentic engineering problems (AEPs) as the backdrop to develop students' design abilities through solving open-ended, ill-structured problems. Results indicate that students who experienced AEPCL showed better design abilities than comparable students who did not experience AEPCL. Through AEPCL, students learn how to collect better information, make more reasonable assumptions, engage in better processes, and arrive at a more plausible, error-free, and high-quality solution in engineering design.

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