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Embedding Real Engineering Decisions and Sometimes-Consequent Errors in a Small Design Project Toward Reflective Learning

[+] Author Affiliations
Kikuo Fujita

Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

Paper No. DETC2002/DTM-34003, pp. 35-48; 14 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 14th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, Integrated Systems Design, and Engineering Design and Culture
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 29–October 2, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3624-X
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


This paper reports an intention and experiences in introducing a project-based design class. While project-based learning is a widely recognized framework for design education, its methodology is still under discussion. Department of Mechanical Engineering at Osaka University starts a new design class for junior students under the demands arisen for Japanese universities and by focusing a latest meaning of knowledge process. The class is characterized by the possibility of errors consequent on the students’ decisions in system-level design. It aims to make the students learn some design paradigms through reflection of events in live situation. For this direction, the students solve a peculiarly simplified but contextually rich design problem by executing all phases of the entire design process, produce hardware, use them, and do post-analysis in two months. The project’s mission and associated schedule are arranged for students to implicitly confront tradeoffs across engineering disciplines and the entire engineering process. After the class it is observed that the students began to learn the naiveness of individual knowledge in system-level design, how it occurs, how it can be avoided, and so forth from their own experiences. The paper is concluded with discussion on the prospects in this type of project-based design education.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME
Topics: Design , Errors



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