Decision-Based Design: A Vehicle for Curriculum Integration

William H. Wood
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland
Baltimore, MD 21250, USA

Educational activities in engineering are often partitioned into analysis, experimentation, and synthesis. While depth is provided in each of these areas throughout a typical curriculum, little is done to unify them as interdependent components of engineering. This paper proposes an overarching structure that integrates these components under the notion that, at its core, engineering is decision-making. Design research provides the building blocks for decision-based design, providing a unifying framework not only within the design process but also among analysis, experimentation, and synthesis and extending outward to connect engineering to the society of which it is a part. Existing curricula can be integrated with only small changes.


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