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Facilitating effective, geographically distributed engineering design teams

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8 Author(s)
Davidson, B. ; Dept. of Mech., Aerosp. & Manuf. Eng., Syracuse Univ., NY, USA ; Dannenhoffer, J., III ; Gay, G. ; Ingraffea, A.
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With recent advances in technology, computer-mediated communications (CMC) are beginning to facilitate effective interactions of geographically distributed scientific research and engineering design teams. However, changes in both the technology and culture are likely necessary for CMC to realize its potential, and a project at Syracuse and Cornell Universities is being conducted to address these required technological solutions as well as the associated behavioral changes. In this project, students at both Universities participate in a senior-level engineering course on thermo-structural design of the lower surface of a next-generation reusable spacecraft. The course requires project work by teams comprised of students from both Universities, and therefore provides the context by which to study CMC, to teach students about collaborative engineering design, and within which to address behavioral changes needed to successfully combine the two. This paper first describes the course and supporting technology. This is followed by a review of qualitative evaluations by students from the two years that the course has been offered. These evaluations indicate that students taking the course receive training not only in discipline specific subject matter, but on working as member of a design team, distributed collaborative engineering, and advanced information technologies that is perceived as valuable educationally and for its expected benefits in their careers.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2003. FIE 2003 33rd Annual  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

5-8 Nov. 2003