Concepts in Engineering Design — An Introductory Course in Design Offered in Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

ICORD 09: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Research into Design, Bangalore, India 07.-09.01.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Chakrabarti, A.
Author: Krishnan,Kalyana R; Susy,Varughese; Prathap,Haridoss
Section: Design Training and Education
Page(s): 587-594


“Concepts in Engineering Design” is a core course offered to all the rst year undergraduate students in engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. The primary objective of the course is to introduce concepts in engineering design to students from all the engineering disciplines through a 2-credit programme.The course is conducted in conceptually different manner with inputs from faculty volunteers from different engineering disciplines. Over the last 10 years of the programme, a signi cant number of students have been found to appreciate engineering design and the inter-disciplinary roles of engineering and science in designing and delivering products or processes. This paper will discuss the origin and motivation of the course, its evolution, the methodology and approach followed in teaching the course and evaluating the students.Some of the lectures in this course cover theoretical and conceptual aspects associated with the design process. However, since the students attending this course are novice to engineering terms, we nd that emphasising on the conceptual aspects of design including associated terminology, is not very effective.Therefore, emphasis is given to case studies, hands-on model making and assignments. In particular, we use examples of common products/structures and explain how the design of the product/structure has evolved with time. Examples like the evolution of the design of aeroplane, ships, portable energy devices, CD disc drive,fountain pen; climate conscious design of buildings; green design concepts etc. are used for case studies.Innovative approaches are adopted to teach the course to large classes of 500-600 students in each batch using audio-visual facilities. Examinations and design evaluations are also innovated to account for the large number of students in the course. Assignments, examinations and design contests with more open-ended approach are used for evaluating the students. These are aimed at testing the concepts learned in the class as well as the general observation skills. Design contests are meant for small teams of students to build something from the given topics. They are evaluated for accuracy with respect to task, use of innovation, aesthetics,performance, approach, team work etc. Examples of model making assignments could be to build a chair to seat a regular adult, using newspaper and sticking tape; build a bridge using broom sticks etc. We discuss the many novel aspects of this course in terms of its concept, content, evolution, delivery and evaluation

Keywords: Introductory Course, Innovation in Teaching, Design Concepts


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