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Freshman engineers' performance when solving design problems

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3 Author(s)
Mullins, C.A. ; Futron Corp., Bethesda, MD, USA ; Atman, C.J. ; Shuman, L.J.

Among the major changes that undergraduate engineering curricula are undergoing is the incorporation of design into freshman curricula. While the objective is to teach design so that students learn both engineering processes and content knowledge, the open question remains: to what extent can freshman engineering students learn to do design? To date, few studies have actually assessed acquisition of design skills. This paper presents the results of one such study in which freshman engineering students were asked to solve three short design problems. Half of the subjects solved the problems at the beginning of the first semester, freshman year and the other half solved the problems at the beginning of the second semester. Results indicate that after only one semester of engineering, students show more sophistication in their design processes. However, while the quality of their problem solving approach improved, comparable improvements were not found in the quality of their designs

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Nov 1999

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