Simulating corporate project engineering for freshmen

E. Wang, R. Wirtz, M. Greiner
FIE '98. 28th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference. Moving from 'Teacher-Centered' to 'Learner-Centered' Education. Conference Proceedings (Cat. No.98CH36214)  
A novel approach to project engineering at the freshmen level is presented. For the past two years a pilot offering of a two-course sequence has been implemented. The goal of the sequence is to present a realistic view of mechanical engineering, provide the students with a set of basic skills, and develop team skills through the use of a simulated industrial environment. Practicing engineers and experts meet with the students to exchange ideas and discuss career paths. Technical writing, oral
more » ... esentations, graphics, Internet access, and spreadsheets are also covered in skills labs. In the projects portion of the course, students play the role of design engineers within a "class corporation." Incentive-based grades, peer evaluation, and the ability to sub-contract work to other teams are key components. Students must communicate their designs to both their peers and invited industrial representatives in written, oral, and electronic formats. Results from the first two years are promising and student feedback has been excellent. The web-based courses have been team taught and developed by both senior and junior faculty. The project topics and outcomes from the first two years are presented along with the lessons learned from each of the four offerings. Since the courses were developed for a small engineering school, where the typical freshmen class size is 50, possible methods to replicate the course structure within other (larger) departments and institutions are also discussed.
doi:10.1109/fie.1998.738681 fatcat:2b6tzg3wbrbzfn224z6tl7uley