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The difference between “open-ended projects” and “design projects”

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1 Author(s)
Dekker, D.L. ; Rose-Hulman Inst. of Technol., Terre Haute, IN, USA

There is a difference between “engineering design projects” and good “open-ended engineering projects”. There is a lot of confusion about the difference between design and an engineering project. Both types of project will follow problem solving steps. However, the “engineering design project” must also have done some conceptual design, some embodiment design and some detail design (Pahl and Beitz, 1988) or it will not be a design project. This is not to say that a design project is better or worse than an open-ended project but they are different and require different skills. Engineers will do many of both kinds of projects during their careers. It is important that we, as faculty, recognize the difference when we structure the learning experiences for our students. This paper discusses some of the design structures and gives an example of both “design projects” and a good “open-ended” engineering project

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1996. FIE '96. 26th Annual Conference., Proceedings of  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

6-9 Nov 1996