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The ASME Student Design Contest as a Transitional Design Experience

[+] Author Affiliations
Robert Choate, Kevin Schmaltz

Western Kentucky University

Paper No. IMECE2005-81337, pp. 323-330; 8 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Teams of Mechanical Engineering students at Western Kentucky University (WKU) participate in the ASME Student Design Contest (SDC) as a component of a Junior Design course. The required course activities include a design review, a mock contest at WKU, and project documentation. Students are also given the option of attending the Regional Conference SDC. Over the past two years, every team has participated at the Regional SDC, with 19 of 27 students attending. Both the 2004 and 2005 WKU teams won the regional competition. The Junior Design course uses the SDC as an intermediate component of a Professional Plan developed and implemented by the WKU ME faculty to assure that program graduates have experienced key areas of the engineering profession and demonstrated the ability to perform in a professional manner. The Professional Component consists of Engineering Design, Professional Communications, Professional Tools, and Ethics. Students receive instruction and practice in all four areas at least once per academic year. With the Engineering Design sequence, freshmen individually build an artifact, sophomores function in design teams, and juniors extend the design experience to an external audience. Technical rigor and faculty expectations obviously rise at each level. The goal is for seniors to be prepared to implement an industry-based project subject to realistic constraints and customer needs. As one of the two design projects in the Junior Design course, the SDC provides a structured design experience with an external flavor. Student teams must demonstrate both problem solving under constraints as well as creativity. To reinforce the economic aspects of design, teams are given a budget, and must fund over expenditures themselves. In addition to the design component of the SDC, the project also includes Professional Communications in the form of design reviews and design notebooks, and Professional Tools such as software for communication, CAD and analytical calculations. The 2005 class has been effective producing rapid prototype components of their designs from CAD models. The Junior Design implementation of the SDC has evolved over the past three years guided by ongoing assessment of both the course and the Professional Component program outcomes. The milestones and associated requirements in the ASME SDC project provides a definitive set of deliverables throughout the progression of the semester long experience. Individual and team performance can be monitored and evaluated with timely feedback, and course outcomes map well into program level assessment. This is a strength of the Professional Component framework that allows for building upon previous coursework, assessing student progress, and adjusting course coverage based on prior assessments to assure that graduating ME students are capable of practicing as engineers.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME
Topics: Design , Students



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