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Work in progress - using a company based model to organize project teams in an introductory design course

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2 Author(s)
Allen H. Hoffman ; Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA ; Jeffrey R. Court

The value of a team approach to design projects has been well established. Projects require teams to demonstrate a wide range of skills including group management, creativity, analysis, manufacturing, testing and communication. Insuring that a team has a sufficient breadth of skills can be problematic. Establishing individual accountability within the project team can also be difficult. A new approach was recently implemented in sophomore/junior design course where teams were assembled based upon the role of company officers. Students interviewed for the positions of chief executive officer, chief technical officer, chief information officer and chief manufacturing officer. Three progress reports were submitted which contained reports from each of the officers. Three oral design reviews were conducted where the instructor and teaching assistant took on the role of venture capitalists (VCs) who were funding the company. Here each officer presented a status report and had the opportunity to ask for advice from the VCs. The company officer approach insured that each student actively participated and was accountable for their work throughout the project. Course evaluations strongly supported the use of this role playing format.

Published in:

2008 38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference

Date of Conference:

22-25 Oct. 2008