Experiences in Offering a Freshman Design Course in Engineering
Dally, James W.
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This paper describes experiences gained by offering a pilot class in design to freshman students. The objectives of the course included: design, graphics, analysis methods, teamwork, computer applications and computer programming. Design, the main emphasis of the course, was covered using a project approach. The project involved a swing set that was designed, produced and assembled during the term. The design specifications and constraints were developed during classroom discussion. Assembly drawings and detail drawing were prepared using a CAD program. The piece parts and hardware for swings were produced and arranged in kits. The swings were then assembled at off campus locations. Graphics was briefly introduced by the conventional lecture process. The students then continued the development of their drawing skills by using Autosketch in the computer laboratory. Analysis methods were introduced on an as needed basis during the discussion of the design of the swing sets. A total of ten basic engineering concepts were introduced in responding to these questions. The aspects of teamwork and cooperative learning in engineering design was emphasized by having groups of five or six students participate together in the design, building and assembly of a single swing set. We showed the importance of teamwork of team performance by grading the teams instead of individual on project accomplishments. The use of computers in engineering was addressed in two different ways. First, application software such as Word Perfect for word processing and Lotus 123 for spreadsheet applications were introduced. We also taught programming in QuickBasic.