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Design as a Central Component in Regular Lecture Courses-Incentives and Disincentives

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2 Author(s)

The engineering professions, through their professional societies and through ABET, have required for some years that a substantial fraction of the engineering curriculum be devoted to design. While we have no hesitation in supporting that objective, we believe that very real obstacles impede the greater use of design problems in engineering education. Unless these obstacles are recognized and dealt with in a rational way, we would predict very slow progress in getting much more design into the curriculum than now exists, whatever its benefits. This paper presents some experiments that we have conducted to see what would happen if we tried to do design in a large lecture-oriented course. Such courses form the bulk of the engineering program in our Department and in many similar programs throughout the country. The results support the thrust of ABET's new objectives but show that getting to their design goal will be an arduous task for both students and faculty. The paper looks at methods for reducing this burden, although in some measure it will simply require more resources than are now employed to teach that same student body.

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IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 2 )