A Freshman Engineering Design Course
Dally, James W.
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This paper presents the structure of a new freshman engineering design course offered at the University of Maryland at College Park. Teaching engineering design through a project approach is the primary focus of this course. The design project involves the development of a product which is simple yet sufficiently challenging to motivate the students to learn basic engineering concepts. The design process consists of three phases, i.e., design manufacturing, and assembly. By actually building the product, the students are exposed to the product development cycle and gain important hands on experience. Teaching modern graphics is a second objective. In the course students acquire entry level skills in the application of computer software through practice and self-instruction with on-site assistance. Our experience in using this new structure to provide freshman a design experience early in the engineering curriculum has been extremely favorable. Evidence indicates that the students were highly motivated. They learned engineering fundamentals, developed critical thinking skills, and gained an educational experience that is relevant to the practice of engineering.