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Corporate structure in the classroom: a model for teaching engineering design

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5 Author(s)
Collier, K. ; Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ, USA ; Hatfield, J. ; Howell, S. ; Larson, D.
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Experiences at the authors' university with a senior-level engineering design course have demonstrated the educational value of challenging design tasks performed on a real project for a real customer. The students enter the course with strong analytical skills and enthusiasm but without adequate experience in doing design, dealing with uncertainty, working as part of a team, and implementing a complex project. To correct this, we implemented some changes in our engineering curriculum and piloted an interdisciplinary sophomore-level design course in the Fall 1994 semester. The course was structured as a simulated engineering company dealing with the design of robotic devices for use in hazardous materials handling. An interdisciplinary faculty team faculty played the roles of company president, division managers and a quality manager. The students played the roles of design engineers. A member of the college's industrial advisory board played the role of our customer, and our campus safety officer played the role of an EPA representative. The course dealt with technical, legal, ethical, financial and personnel issues, and addressed problems of incomplete information, limited resources and materials availability, team dynamics, and employee and public safety. Communication and documentation were emphasized. The challenge we now face is to structure these courses with a reasonable student-to-faculty ratio while still maintaining the team teaching approach and the simulated corporate structure. This paper describes the first offering of the two linked interdisciplinary design courses

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1995. Proceedings., 1995  (Volume:1 )

Date of Conference:

1-4 Nov 1995