Integrating Social Aspects and Group Work Aspects in Engineering Design Education

Eswaran Subrahmanian, Arthur Westerberg, Sarosh Talukdar, James Garrett, Annette Jacobson, Chris Paredis, and Christina Amon
Institute for Complex Engineered Systems, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 51213, USA

Paulien Herder and Adam Turk
Energy and Industry Group, Delft University of Technology
2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

This paper describes two design project courses we teach at CMU, both emphasizing the importance of the social aspects of design. The first, taught collaboratively with Delft University, asks students to formulate, but never solve, a series of design problems. Students move from individually solving a series of simple problems to solving or interpreting larger problems as cross- Atlantic teams. A second product design projects course is available to all CMU students, with projects supported both technically and financially by industrial sponsors. Students learn the value of multidisciplinary teaming and of having real problems on which to work. We place emphasis on the teams discovering the `right’ problem on which to work. Projects span two terms, with the second term team members learning first hand about the difficulties of project hand-off. In both courses, students learn from each other through weekly project presentations. Also, in both courses, everyone — faculty, industrial partners and students — places, organizes and shares all information electronically within LIRE, our web-based document management system. Finally, for the first course, almost all CMU lectures and student presentations for the past two years are available as web-available streaming video movies.


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