A New Model for Formative Design Process Instruction – Engineering Design Days (poster)

TitleA New Model for Formative Design Process Instruction – Engineering Design Days (poster)
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsRennick, C., C. Hulls, A. Hurst, and S. Bedi
Conference NameClive L. Dym Mudd Design Workshop XI
Conference LocationClaremont, California

Engineering Design Days are two-day long design “sprints” that expose students early in their university careers to open-ended problems, engineering decision-making, and the role of analysis in design. First offered in 2016, Design Days for first year Mechatronics Engineering (“Tron Days”) led students through a realistic engineering design process on a discipline-specific task. During Tron Days students worked in teams of 4 over 2 days to solve a problem that connected to their classroom learning (in this case, a 3 degrees-of-freedom robotic arm).

Tron Days had a 5-part activity structure that began with the Warm-up stage where students constructed mathematical models of the arm (using knowledge from Calculus/Algebra).  That afternoon, students entered the Design stage where they explored the available equipment, and completed a sketch of their design (using skills from Engineering Graphics).  A week later, students entered the Construction stage of the activity where they assembled their design.  The final two stages are Demonstrations that typically happened on the second afternoon, and once the event is over, students Reflected on their design and design process.

Design Days typically carry 5% of a course’s grade in one or more courses, and the grades attached to the activity are for reflection on the design and the process. Design Days provide a common design experience for students to support their classroom learning, and an opportunity to support students’ professional and technical skill development. Most importantly, they achieve this by providing a formative design experience for students where failure is not penalized.